The spotted lanternfly has made its way to Pennsylvania, and it has created a bit of a buzz for agriculturists, gardeners, & hobbyists alike. Unfortunately, there is no foolproof way to rid your property of these invasive insects entirely. However, in this blog we will talk about how you can stymie the rate at which they populate and how you can defend your property’s vegetation against further damage. Also, if you see any of these insects, you are encouraged to report it, immediately, to the phone number 1-888-4BADFLY. If we all do our part, we can minimize the spread and damage caused by these detrimental bugs.

Eggs – The Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) lays its eggs on flat surfaces like stone, the sides of houses or decks, and usually covers them with mud to protect them from predators and the harshness of winter. 

  • What You Can Do – During the fall months, inspect these flat surfaces for egg casings and scrape the eggs directly into a container of hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol, double bag it and throw it in the trash. The SLF loves to feed and lay eggs on the tree of heaven, so think about removing these popular host plants from your property also.
black tick with white spots
small red and black tick

Nymphs – As the wingless nymphs hatch they tend to crawl up trees, fall down, and climb back up repeatedly, sometimes landing on different plants and other potential food sources, increasing the radius of their spread. The nymphs will try to feed as much as possible on vegetation as it goes through its many different stages of growth known as instars. As the insect matures it actually travels less than when it didn’t have wings, this is due to the adults’ desire to keep a close relationship with its host plant.

  • What You Can Do – Band the trees with a sticky substance. Sticky bands are commercially available and come in a variety of stickiness. Wrap these bands around the tree a few feet from the base. When the bands are all used up eggs, and surviving SLF’s can still be stuck to the bands, so be smart about disposal. Household methods include duct tape, flypaper, and petroleum jelly. 

Adults – When fully matured the SLF will hop around more than fly, even though it has wings it doesn’t want to travel great distances. It would much rather locate Chinese sumac, Grapevines, or Tree of Heaven plants and begin an infestation. Adults produce a highly sugary waste product that damages the tree and promotes harmful mold growth. This done in excess can be very damaging to the health of the tree.

  • What You Can Do – Pesticides – Either injected directly into the tree or spraying the plant or ground can be a useful deterrent to the SLF. Be sure to use legal, non-harmful products for your applications, you may end up doing more harm than good if you end up contaminating water sources or leaving behind trace amounts of chemicals that are toxic to pets, birds, or other useful wildlife.
lantern fly

Many counties in Pennsylvania are under spotted lanternfly quarantine. What you can transport, purchase, and sell are all now being regulated differently because of this pesky critter. Since we are on the homefront, it is up to us to do everything we can, as homeowners, to combat this frustrating issue! Using the strategies provided in this blog, keeping your property clear from these pests should be a much more efficient project. Spread the word to your neighbors if you live in an area that is being affected particularly badly and work together to clear up your living area. Please feel free to check back to our blog page to keep up to date with lawn and landscape trends and care for the summer 2020 season!