Spotted Lanternfly & Tree-of-heaven: NY needs your help!

Spotted lanternfly (SLF) is an invasive pest from Asia that feeds on a variety of plants including grapes, hops, and maple trees, posing a severe threat to NYS forests and agriculture (more info). SLF's preferred host plant, Tree-of-heaven (TOH), is already found in much of the state. SLF was first found in PA in 2014, and several populations have since been found in NY. Agencies and conservation partners across the state are working to protect our state resources from these invasives, and we are requesting help from volunteers to complement these efforts.

Want to learn more about SLF, TOH, and volunteering? Attend one of our upcoming webinars:

Webinar Series: Identifying & Reporting Spotted Lanternfly and Tree-of-heaven with NY iMapInvasives

Tues. Feb 23rd - watch our recording

Mon. June 7th, 1pm - watch our recording

Thurs. August 5th, 10am - watch our recording

Wed. October 27th, 1pm

 Volunteers needed: 

SLF management actions are more effective and regions can better prepare for the impacts of this insect when new infestations are found early.


New York State is seeking volunteers like you to look for SLF and TOH in your area. You can supplement NYS efforts to prevent negative impacts from invasive species by knowing what to look for and how to report observations to New York’s official invasive species database, iMapInvasives.


NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets and the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation have identified 1km grid squares across the state where volunteer survey efforts would be most helpful. These may be close to known infestations, along major pathways, and/or near important commodities that could be harmed by SLF. Use the interactive map below to sign up for a grid square and survey one or two areas within that are publicly and safely accessible.

SLF egg masses on tree bark - NYS Dept. of Ag. & Markets
Adult SLF on tree trunk
Early SLF nymph (May - July)
Late SLF nymph (July-Sep)

Photo collage of Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) and Tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima)

 Progress since February, 2021 

as of August, 2021


Grid squares claimed - claim yours here!


Records submitted for TOH and SLF - Presence & Not-detected

Data from iMapInvasives


 Thank you to all who have contributed so far!!! 

How to volunteer


Step 1: Set up an account with iMapInvasives 

Step 2: Select a grid cell to survey for SLF

  • On the Sign-Up Map below, zoom to your area and select a grid square to survey for SLF and TOH.  

Step 3: Prep for surveying in your square

  • You can use the Find my Claimed Grid Squares Tool on the  Sign-up Map to check which grid cells you claimed.

  • Review resources on identifying SLF and TOH, and which SLF life stages are currently active.


  • Select one to three locations within your grid square that are publicly and safely accessible.

Tip: If possible, select areas with varying levels of ​human disturbance. For example: a parking lot, a nature trail, and a park.

  • Set up the iMapInvasives Mobile App on your device and enter a Fake Species Record to test it out. You can view submitted records on the online interface.

Video App Tutorial

Step 4: Survey your square for SLF & TOH​  

  • Travel to one to three locations within your grid square that are safely and publicly accessible.


  • Survey for SLF and TOH - remember to check for SLF egg masses on any flat surface - trees, rocks, structures, metal objects, etc. (more info). TOH grows in natural areas as well as highly developed areas, even growing through cracks in cement and between buildings.

  • Use the iMapInvasives Mobile App to report:

    • Presence records when you encounter SLF or TOH

    • Not-detected records if you search for the species but do not find any.

    • Enter time searched for each record - we recommend spending 3-10 minutes to search a location.


  • Repeat: If possible, return to your survey sites every two-six months to detect any changes.

    • The overall goal is to collect 20 records for each grid square (ten for SLF, ten for TOH) in 2021. These can be presence or not-detected records, depending on whether you detect the species.


Questions? Email

Important info for volunteers


Guidance for surveying:




Only survey areas open to the public. Review and follow all rules and regulations that pertain to the site visited, including paying parking fees, if applicable.


Stay alert and aware of surroundings when surveying parking areas and roadsides. Only survey areas that are easily and safely accessible.


Follow applicable COVID-19 protocols


  • Please note that agencies and partners are not obligated to remove any invasive species found

  • Refer to the iMap Terms of Use for data entered into and obtained from iMapInvasives.

Claim a location to survey for SLF and TOH


Find grid squares you have claimed

Find grid squares near a location

1.  Enter address or location

2. Adjust search distance

3. Click Searcb

Click on a grid square and claim it with your iMap Person ID

Open legend

Review the tips and click Launch Sign-Up Map below to open the map in a new tab, and claim a grid square to survey for SLF and TOH.

Print map

Zoom in to see grid squares

Focus grid squares*

Selected by NYS conservation partners

Grid squares with public access land

Grid squares with confirmed TOH

Claimed Grid squares

*Focus grid squares are the highest priority grid squares to claim, but you can claim any available grid square in your preferred area.

Change basemap

"Can I survey somewhere else?"

The grid squares were selected to drive volunteers to areas that are accessible and/or where conservation partners need the most help surveying for SLF and TOH (often focusing on areas containing publicly accessible land). However, surveys for SLF and TOH are helpful at any location, including outside of grid squares.


You can participate in this effort without signing up for a grid square by surveying for SLF and TOH and submitting observations to iMapInvasives in your own backyard, local parks, and other areas which may not be captured by grid squares.


Please login to iMap and join the "NYS SLF-TOH-iMap Volunteer Survey 2021" project to associate your records with this effort (how to join a project).

Trouble viewing the map?

  • If you can't see the grid squares, make sure you are zoomed in, and click and drag to pan around to nearby areas.

  • Make sure your browser window is maximized.

  • If you have your browser zoomed in (i.e. set to 125% to make text larger), please zoom out to 100%.

  • Try another device (desktop, laptop, phone, tablet).

  • Confirm that you are using Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.​​

Thank you to all who participated in 2020!

Check back on March to sign up for a grid square for 2021