Horses and Spotted Lanternflies: What You Need to Know

Horses and spotted lanternflies may seem like an odd pairing, but these two creatures have recently become intertwined unexpectedly. Spotted lanternflies, an invasive species native to Asia, have been making their way across the United States, wreaking havoc on agriculture and causing concern for horse owners. This article will explore the relationship between horses and spotted lanternflies and provide the information you need to protect your horses from this pesky pest.

What are Spotted Lanternflies?

Spotted lanternflies (Lycorma delicatula), also known as planthoppers, are an invasive insect species that first arrived in the United States in 2014. Originally from China, Vietnam, and parts of India, these insects have quickly threatened crops, trees, and plants.

Spotted lanternflies are easily identified by their distinctive appearance. They have grayish bodies with black spots, and their wings are adorned with vibrant red, white, and black patterns. These insects are not typically harmful to humans, but they can cause significant damage to plants and trees by feeding on their sap.

The Threat to Horses

While spotted lanternflies primarily target crops like grapes, hops, and fruit trees, they can also threaten horses. The main concern for horse owners is the possibility of horses ingesting the insects, as they are known to be toxic.

Spotted lanternflies produce a sticky substance called honeydew, which they excrete as they feed on plants. This honeydew can accumulate on horses’ coats, attracting ants and other insects. If a horse licks or consumes honeydew-covered insects, it can potentially lead to gastrointestinal issues and other health problems.

Additionally, horses may also suffer from allergic reactions to the saliva of spotted lanternflies. This can result in skin irritation, hives, and discomfort for the affected horse.

Prevention and Control

As a horse owner, it is essential to take steps to prevent and control the presence of spotted lanternflies in your barn or pasture. Here are some measures you can take:

  1. Monitor for spotted lanternflies: Regularly inspect your property for signs of spotted lanternflies, such as egg masses, nymphs, or adults. If you spot any, please report them to your local agricultural extension office.
  2. Remove host plants: Spotted lanternflies are attracted to various plants, including the tree of heaven, grapevines, and black walnut. Could you please remove these plants from your property as they act as breeding grounds for the insects?
  3. Apply insecticides: Consult a professional pest control specialist to determine the best insecticides for your property. Follow all instructions and safety guidelines provided by the manufacturer.
  4. Use physical barriers: Install sticky traps or obstacles around areas where horses are kept to prevent spotted lanternflies from reaching them. These barriers can help catch and control the population of insects.
  5. Practice good manure management: Spotted lanternflies are attracted to manure, so managing and disposing of waste to reduce their presence correctly is crucial. Consider composting or removing debris from the property.

By implementing these prevention and control measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of spotted lanternflies affecting your horses and their well-being.


While horses and spotted lanternflies may not seem like natural adversaries, horse owners need to be aware of the potential risks associated with these invasive insects. By staying vigilant, regularly monitoring for signs of spotted lanternflies, and taking appropriate preventive measures, you can help protect your horses from the harmful effects of this pest.

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