LebTown’s home garden guide on curbing the spotted lanternfly

As summer commences, Lebanon is commencing to have sightings of noticed lanternfly nymphs across the county.

LebTown spoke with Casey Clauser, Lebanon Grasp Gardener Coordinator of PennState Extension, and Olivia Bingeman of the Lebanon County Conservation District to locate out far more about these pests, and how to offer with them.

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What are noticed lanternflies?

Noticed lanternflies (SLF) are an invasive planthopper species, first noticed in Pennsylvania in 2014. Given that then, a overall of 26 Pennsylvania counties have confirmed spotted lanternfly sightings.

The pests hatch in spring and attain adulthood in July, remaining energetic till winter.

Noticed lanternfly nymphs, on hatching, are little (close to an eighth of an inch in length) and black in shade. For the duration of this time, they might reside on sure trees or on smaller plants and flowers, such as roses and grape vines.

Lately hatched spotted lanternfly nymphs. Photo offered by Olivia Bingeman of the Lebanon County Conservation District.

Afterwards in their adolescence, nymphs get on a purple-black sample and achieve about a 50 % inch in duration.

Spotted lanternfly nymphs. Picture provided by Olivia Bingeman of the Lebanon County Conservation District.

In their adulthood, noticed lanternflies mature to above an inch in dimensions, with black spots on their wings and distinct purple coloring. Grownup spotted lanternflies usually reside and feed on trees, these kinds of as Willow, Sumac, River Birch, Silver or Red Maple, and the invasive Tree-of-heaven.

An grownup spotted lanternfly spreading its wings on a tree. Image offered by Casey Clauser of PennState Extension.

What challenges do they result in?

Very first and foremost, spotted lanternflies typically do not destroy trees. Nevertheless, immediately after feeding on different kinds of plant matter, they secrete honeydew, a compound able of interrupting photosynthesis of crops if it handles them.

“If you have plants below trees that that honeydew is falling on, it could produce what’s known as ‘sooty mildew,’ which would minimize photosynthesis so then the crops could possibly not do as well,” discussed Clauser. “In trees, we really don’t see a massive challenge with the everyday living of the tree, but high quality of everyday living all-around that tree could be an challenge.”

Honeydew is recognized to lower the yields of create-bearing crops, specially grape vines (on which spotted lanternflies can stay their overall life) and fruit trees. This is particularly the scenario when large amounts of the pest take home on a plant.

“If [spotted lanternflies are] on grape vines or fruit trees, any pressure on individuals crops will restrict any sort of generation,” mentioned Bingeman. “That’s an crucial situation.”

There have also been some studies of pets acquiring negative reactions to consuming spotted lanternflies. Though no toxic compounds have been observed in the insects, according to Penn Condition Extension, this is not conclusive.

“It appears that a lot more studies would want to be finished to completely rule out the probability [of SLF being poisonous to animals],” explained Bingeman. “If your pet results in being sick, contact your veterinarian suitable away.”

What can be done to handle the inhabitants?

As an invasive species, there are not quite a few natural checks on the populace of spotted lanternflies. However, there are a selection of approaches humans can use to control the inhabitants.


1 can equip a tree with a sticky trap or the much more lately popularized circle trap to collect and destroy huge amounts of the pests. This is specially efficient all through the nymph stage, as spotted lanternfly nymphs are fewer ready to escape traps and extra very likely to climb the trunk of the tree, the place traps are found.

A sticky trap established up in Palmyra/Campbelltown area, delivered by community resident Steven Stoner in a Fb thread.

“We are at the finest time to control noticed lanternfly,” said Bingeman. “Because at this point, they are modest and they’re comparatively straightforward to capture. What transpires is, they drop off the tree since they’re weak, and then they have to climb back up, and that’s when the sticky tape is truly beneficial.”

A sticky trap is fundamentally a substantial piece of sticky tape, wrapped close to the trunk of a tree. These are helpful at capturing and killing noticed lanternflies, but also pose a hazard to other bugs, birds, and even mammals like squirrels. A single can wrap mesh all-around the trap to stay clear of most bycatch.

A Lancaster Conservation District YouTube video outlining how to set up a mesh barrier around a spotted lanternfly sticky trap.

“The sticky traps, if people do want to use them, we genuinely remarkably endorse that they use some sort of protecting covering,” explained Clauser. “In the past a whole lot of people today used chicken wire, and definitely which is not sufficient. It should be an insect screening you would use for your window, that way it definitely lessens the volume of option for effective bugs, for birds, other points that may possibly get trapped to those sticky bands.”

The circle entice is a latest innovation that avoids the bycatch difficulty of sticky traps, although it is also much more difficult to use and more costly to order. Nonetheless, it can also be built from scratch, as this PennState Extension manual describes.

“The truly big reward of the circle entice is it’s not gonna get bycatch it’s not gonna get squirrels, it is not gonna get birds,” claimed Bingeman. “It’s a small more tricky to use although. It usually takes a number of films to determine out how to place it up.”

A Lancaster Conservation District Youtube Video describing how to set up a circle entice to capture spotted lanternflies.

Clauser recommends circle traps over sticky traps, the two for the reason that of lessened bycatch and amplified performance for adult noticed lanternflies.

The two varieties of traps do the job ideal on trees with clean bark. All those who set up the traps are suggested to check them semi-frequently to clear away trapped insects. Sticky tape commonly lasts a couple months, while circle traps final the complete period but have to have emptied occasionally.


When substantial amounts of noticed lanternflies are in one locale, pesticides can be used to lower their populations. On the other hand, pesticides ought to not be made use of for small amounts of the pest, or when their use also places advantageous insects at chance, these types of as on flowering plants that bees are very likely to take a look at.

“Insecticides are always superior to use as long as you read through the label and have an understanding of what they are meant for,” mentioned Bingeman. “Make absolutely sure we’re by no means making use of on flowering plants, due to the fact that is some thing bees are captivated to and we kill bees that way.”

Distinct pesticides have diverse effects on the surroundings and noticed lanternflies. Bingeman endorses pesticides with energetic ingredient Carbaryl, Bifenthrin, or Beta cyfluthrin for noticed lanternflies.

Chart showing the information of a variety of insecticides and their usefulness in opposition to spotted lanternflies. Impression from PennState Extension’s Noticed Lanternfly Management for Citizens tutorial.

Although spraying vegetation does normally kill the nymphs now on that plant, it may not avert a lot more from masking the plant in the foreseeable future.

A plant covered with noticed lanternfly nymphs from a Fb thread. According to poster Steve Morris, the plant was sprayed a working day prior to the image being taken.

Clauser noted that although a wide variety of dwelling solutions have been employed to spray noticed lanternflies, these procedures have commonly not been examined thoroughly for environmental effect or performance on pests.

“Penn State Extension’s stance for any property solution is effectively that any of individuals approaches are not tested to be used as an insecticide to get rid of insects,” he said. “So despite the fact that it may well get rid of insects, we constantly suggest that people use an EPA labeled insecticide for the reason that they’ve been researched to be used as an insecticide.

“Technically, if you are spraying anything as an insecticide that’s not built as that or not following the label correctly of an insecticide, it is technically unlawful to spray anything that’s not designed,” Clauser continued. “We usually say, if you are going to use them, follow the guidelines.”

A different strategy of chemical command is systemic pesticides. Essentially, this system puts insecticide into a tree’s sap so that bugs that eat it—such as spotted lanternflies—consume the insecticide and die as a outcome. Commonly, this technique is used later on in the spotted lanternfly time (as nymphs typically simply cannot get through their bark to feed) and is administered by a experienced to a specially infested tree.

“Probably the best way to control them when they are older people is through systemic insecticides,” defined Bingeman. “You have to simply call a specialist out to spray a tree that will suck up that pesticide, and then when the noticed lanternfly feed on it it’ll get rid of them. That’s one thing that most tree care companies can do.”

Other strategies

At times, significantly during the nymph stages, spotted lanternflies will take up residence on blooming bouquets or other vegetation that rule out the solutions of pesticides and tree trapping. In these scenarios, there are a few remaining solutions.

One particular is to manually decide the nymphs off of affected plants. Nicole Welch, a Lancaster resident, has been brushing nymphs off her crops and into jars of drinking water so that they can’t survive to adulthood. She does this two times a week or far more.

“At my residence they really do not climb our trees, in its place they like the roses and other vegetation that have for a longer time stems, issues we just can’t use the tree tape on,” Welch defined in an email to LebTown. “We also have a large amount of edible plants in our backyard, so we don’t use quite a few pesticides. I consider a mason jar 50 percent complete of basic h2o and use my hand to ‘herd’ them into the jar.

“They drown inside of 48 several hours, and can be dumped everywhere due to the fact it is just h2o and dead bugs. It takes time to do this, but I find it less difficult than making an attempt to stick to wherever they soar to squish them.”

For an straightforward deterrent, Clauser endorses utilizing a hose to spray nymphs off of crops. When it will not destroy the nymphs, it will drain their power and could discourage them from returning.

“Knocking them off, they may perhaps crawl back up, but they are going to be having energy heading back and forth, and that might limit them on trying to arrive back again to the plant,” mentioned Clauser. “That’s one thing you can quickly do as you are watering your plants.”

People are also advised to hold an eye out for Tree-of-heaven vegetation. The invasive species serves as a ideal property and foodstuff for noticed lanternflies, in addition to staying commonly detrimental to the community ecosystem.

Tree-of-heaven plants located by a railroad, a widespread put for the invasive species to sprout. Picture furnished by Casey Clauser of PennState Extension.

“The spotted lanternflies choose these trees and breed better, and live much better, and mature far better when they have obtain to these trees,” claimed Bingeman.

A noticed lanternfly nymph climbing a Tree-of-heaven, the only tree that can sustain spotted lanternflies by their whole existence cycle. Photo offered by Casey Clauser of PennState Extension.

Thanks to that, the trees should be minimize down and killed using herbicides. If herbicides are not utilized, the roots will remain alive and create additional trees down the line.

“We motivate people today to take out it from their home no matter of the spotted lanternfly,” urged Clauser.

What sources are offered to aid offer with spotted lanternflies?

Noticed lanternfly sightings can be documented at PennState Extension, which retains monitor of wherever across the state the pest has been spotted.

While very last yr the Lebanon Valley Conservation District acquired point out cash for management initiatives, it and other conservation districts throughout the point out do not have that funding this 12 months. Nonetheless, the Pennsylvania Section of Agriculture is nonetheless undergoing management projects.

“We never know what reasoning was behind this, but no conservation districts obtained funding to do their own jobs,” stated Bingeman. “The Department of Ag is continue to undertaking assignments, but the unique counties are not.”

Bingeman recommended that people worried about spotted lanternflies on publicly owned assets, these kinds of as parks, very first get hold of their municipality to see if circle or sticky traps could be place out, then report the infestation to the Department of Agriculture.

For a lot more info on the species and how to deal with it, visit PennState Extension’s Spotted Lanternfly Manual, which was heavily consulted in the advancement of this post.

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