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.

 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.

Want to learn more about SLF, TOH, and volunteering? Attend our upcoming webinar:

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

Monday, June 7th 1-2:30pm

Registration  Opens April 15th

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

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

New York State is divided into 8 PRISMs which coordinate invasive species management at the regional level (learn more). To stay up-to-date on invasive species efforts in your region, visit here to join your PRISM listserve.

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.

Change basemap

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.

Tip: Don't see any grid squares in your area? Click and drag your mouse to move across the map find grid squares nearby.

Contact Us:

Invasive Species Database

New York Natural Heritage Program 

625 Broadway 5th Floor 

Albany, NY  12203

T: 518-402-8941


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