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How to combat spotted lanternfly in the nymph stages

How to Get Rid of Spotted Lanternfly in the Nymph Stages

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 control Spotted Lanternfly!


How Spotted Lanternfly Causes Property Damage

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.


How the Spotted Lanternfly Attracts Dangerous Insects

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


Knowing How to Identify the 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.


How You Can Help Stop the Spread of Spotted Lanternfly in the Nymph Stages

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:


Sticky bands on trees to combat spotted lanternfly
Trees with sticky bands were seen all around Quakertown last summer where the Spotted Lanternfly swarmed the area. This year, the insect will appear in Philadelphia, Bucks and Montgomery Counties, and homeowners need to be prepared to protect their properties!


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:




Getting Ready to Combat the Next Life Cycle

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.



Author: Jeanne Hafner

Leave a Reply


  • Gary Young

    I have used “Home Defender spray” around the trunk of the tree, below the tape and have hundreds of dead and dying flys on the ground around the tree in addition to those stuck to the tape. Comments?

    • Cindy Giroud

      Hi Gary, I think you may be referring to “Home Defense.” We are not familiar with the product since it is formulated for home use. However it does appear to contain Bifenthrin, an ingredient recommended for Spotted Lanternfly control. While the product killed the pest on contact, you’ll need to monitor how long it lasts on the tree. Your use of tree bands is an excellent strategy for capturing Spotted Lanternfly in the nymph stages (May-July). Just be sure to change the bands every two weeks and cut them in half longwise to prevent accidentally trapping small animals. Giroud’s Spotted Lanternfly control program is based on the latest research by Penn State and the PA Department of Agriculture. Research has shown that pesticide treatments are most effective in the adult stage from July through November. You might also want to start checking your property for egg masses. Scraping them off now will help stop future generations. For more information on how to control this pest, check out: https://www.giroudtree.com/spotted-lanternfly/spotted-lanternfly-control/ Hope this helps! Please let us know if you have any other questions.