The Spotted Lanternfly is a destructive insect that has officially invaded Philadelphia, Bucks and Montgomery Counties! All winter long, their eggs lay waiting for the warm weather, carefully encased in a protective, hardened layer of secretion. In just a few weeks, swarms of the adult Spotted Lanternfly will appear, destroying crops and causing property damage for area homeowners. In fact, they’re already starting to emerge, although you won’t be seeing the adults just yet! Read on to find out why you need to protect your property from Spotted Lanternfly, what to look for now in the Nymph stages, and how you can help prevent the spread of Spotted Lanternfly!
These insects eat tree sap and then excrete droppings of a sweet, sticky substance called Honeydew. The honeydew will coat the tree, the base of the tree, and anything underneath the tree, including cars, hardscapes, and decking. Then, black, sooty mold grows on the secreted substance. The combination of honeydew and black, sooty mold has an unpleasantly sour stench and is very difficult to remove from surfaces.
Even more unsettling, the secreted honeydew attracts stinging wasps! Wasps can’t resist the tantalizing smell of the honeydew, and they will swarm your property for a taste. Homeowners are struggling to rid their yards of stinging wasps, and it’s particularly a problem for children playing in the area!
Check out Giroud’s post: Why You Need to Worry About Spotted Lanternfly
One of the things that makes this insect difficult to control is the fact that it goes through several identities during its life cycle. Adult females lay eggs in the fall, and they go to great lengths to cover the egg masses in a secretion that dries hard and camouflages to look like dirt or clay. The young nymphs that emerge from the eggs in spring are black with white spots. In early summer, they gain red markings on their bodies. Then, midsummer they become adults and shed their skin to form wings on their backs.
These adult wings are their true tell-tale, with bright red markings on a background of black, white and beige patterns. However, it’s important to know what they look like in the Nymph stages so you can identify and destroy them before they turn into adults.
The experts at Giroud Tree and Lawn have been working closely with Penn State’s Department of Agricultural Sciences to determine the best treatments and techniques for combatting Spotted Lanternfly in each of the life cycle stages. According to Penn State:
“Currently, the most effective trap for SLF is a sticky band wrapped around the trunks of trees. SLF nymphs and adults are trapped in the sticky barrier as they crawl up from the ground onto the trunks and move upward to feed on the tree.“
Sticky bands can be found at most hardware stores and also on Amazon.com. They are easy to install, but they should be changed weekly for the best results. However, it is important to be aware that these sticky bands can accidentally trap other insects and also small animals and birds. To avoid this problem, Penn State recommends cutting the sticky bands lengthwise so the surface area is not as broad. Spotted Lanternfly Nymphs are small and climb up the tree. They will get trapped at the bottom of the sticky band, so there is no need to have such a tall band. Penn State also urges homeowners to wrap the outside of the tree with chicken wire over the area of the sticky band. This will prevent squirrels, birds and other small animals from becoming stuck to the band.
Check out Penn State’s informative video on how to band trees to capture Spotted Lanternfly:
Spotted Lanternfly are destructive, invasive pests, and the best way to combat them is to spread awareness and encourage vigilance! If you see signs of Spotted Lanternfly on your property, call 215-682-7704 to schedule your FREE Property Inspection with a Giroud ISA Certified Arborist. For more information, please visit Giroud’s Spotted Lanternfly Info Page.