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How to Kill Spotted Lanternfly

How to Kill Spotted Lanternfly

Many homeowners are frustrated with Spotted Lanternfly and they want to know how to kill these pesky insects. As the bad bug continues to multiply year after year, it’s vital that we all do our part to try to knock down the population. There are a variety of effective methods for killing SLF, and some are better than others. Read on to learn which works best.

Spotted Lanternfly Sticky Band Caged Tree banding
Wrap sticky bands in chicken wire to prevent birds and other small animals from becoming trapped.

Using a Spotted Lanternfly Trap

Trapping can be an effective way to kill Spotted Lanternfly. These methods are most successful when the insect is in the nymph stage of its life cycle. Nymphs have not developed their wings yet, so they climb up trees to look for food. With the right trap in place, you can catch them as they walk right into their ultimate demise!

However, nymphs are tricky as they quickly move from plant to plant and usually don’t linger for very long. The experts at Penn State have experimented with many types of traps. When it comes to trapping methods, they explain that “You may catch a lot of SLF with a trap, but because they move around in the landscape, trapping will not prevent more SLF from coming to that tree.”

Here are two popular Spotted Lanternfly traps.

Tree Banding

Banding trees in sticky tape can be a very effective way to capture and kill Spotted Lanternfly, especially SLF Nymphs. 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.

Avoid Bycatch

Sticky bands can accidentally trap small animals and birds. To avoid this problem, Penn State recommends cutting the sticky bands lengthwise so the surface area is not as broad. Then, 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.

Circle Trap

Circle Traps are another good method for catching SLF Nymphs. They were originally designed to catch another tree insect called Pecan Weevils. You can purchase these online. However, since Spotted Lanternfly invaded the U.S., many organizations and homeowners have shared DIY versions. In fact, Penn State offers directions on their website for how to build a circle trap here.

Check out this post: How to Destroy Spotted Lanternfly Egg Masses.

DIY Spray Methods

There are many “Do It Yourself” spray methods you can do to kill Spotted Lanternfly. 

Killing SLF with Neem Oil and Insecticidal Soap

If you see clusters of lantern flies attacking a specific plant, use a quick knockdown product like Neem Oil or insecticidal soap. Spray the oil or soap directly on the Nymphs to kill them on contact. It’s important to note, spot treatments will not have a long-term impact on the larger SLF population.

Homemade Spotted Lanternfly Spray

Some homeowners are preparing homemade sprays to kill SLF. There are a few recipes that work well, and they usually contain dish soap and vinegar. However, you need to be careful with using these sprays because they can also kill important plants and grass.

Professional Spotted Lanternfly Treatment

The most effective way to kill large quantities of Spotted Lanternfly is with professional treatments. Giroud has been working closely with Penn State, the PA Department of Agriculture and the USDA to develop a successful SLF Control Program. Your ISA Certified Giroud Arborist can evaluate your property and determine if you need target treatments to kill Spotted Lanternfly. Here’s how it works:

Killing Spotted Lanternfly with Basal Trunk Spray
Giroud Plant Healthcare Manager, Rodney Stahl, Jr, performing a basal trunk spray to kill Spotted Lanternfly.

Foliar Nymph Spray

May-July

This is recommended only in situations where there is a high spotted lanternfly infestation attacking a specific plant or tree. Beta-Cyfluthrin will be sprayed on  trunks, limbs and foliage.  The treatment will kill the Nymphs on contact and when they crawl on treated surfaces for up to 30 days.

Basal Trunk Spray

July-September
Dinotefuran will be sprayed around the trunk of the tree.  It kills SLF both on-contact and systemically.  For a few weeks after treatment, SLF are killed on contact or when they crawl on treated surfaces.  After the insecticide is absorbed through the tree’s vascular system, SLF are killed when they feed on the tree.  Treatment remains in the tree for up to 60 days.

Foliar Spray

September-November
Bifenthrin will be sprayed around the top canopy of the tree. This treatment kills the adult SLF on contact as they climb higher into the tree’s branches and walk over surfaces with the residue on it.

To learn more about Giroud’s program, check out our Spotted Lanternfly Control here.

To schedule a FREE Spotted Lanternfly property evaluation with your ISA Certified Giroud Arborist, call 215-682-7704.

Here’s fun video of all the ways people are killing SLF:

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Author: Jeanne Hafner

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