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How to Control Spotted Lanternfly

How to control Spotted Lanternfly egg masses nymphs adults
Spotted Lanternfly Control: Scrape egg masses (left), Band and cage trees to catch nymphs (middle), Giroud’s timed spray treatments for killing adult Spotted Lanternfly (right).

Controlling Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) requires action. If you see only a few adult Spotted Lanternfly, you can easily squash and kill them yourself.  However, these insects usually attack trees in swarms. That’s when you need professional help from state-licensed SLF control companies like Giroud.

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Giroud’s Spotted Lanternfly Control Program

Based on the latest research from Penn State, the PA Department of Agriculture and the USDA  Giroud’s program includes treatments to kill the pest on contact and long lasting control to get the pests as they emerge over time.  Additionally, Trees of Heaven (Ailanthus) an invasive tree that attracts SLF, should be destroyed if found on your property.

Here’s how Giroud controls Spotted Lanternfly:

Research shows that the best time to control Spotted Lanternfly is at the adult stage. However, there is an exception. Nymph control may be warranted if the population is high enough to cause feeding damage such as wilting stems. Or, if Nymphs are focusing heavily on individual plants.  In these cases, your Giroud Arborist can evaluate the situation and determine if targeted treatment is required.

  1. Identify High Risk Trees: Since SLF feeds on so many species of trees, Giroud recommends protecting only the high-risk trees that are most valuable to your landscape. Based on a combination of our experience managing this pest and lists compiled by the USDA and Penn State, the following trees are at higher risk of attack from SLF: Maples (especially Red and Silver), Willows, Walnuts, Japanese Snowbells, Birch, Locust, Grapevines and several varieties of fruit trees.
  2. Timing and TreatmentChemical control is most effective in the adult stage which typically spans July through November.  However, control at the Nymph stage may be necessary if intense pressure is being put on specific plants or if high populations are on the property.  In all cases, a Giroud PA Certified Technician, who is licensed for SLF treatments, will perform each application.

  • May-July: Foliar Spray
    Recommended only in situations where there are high populations or specific plants are under intense pressure.  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.
  • July-September: Basal Trunk Spray
    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.
  • September-November: Foliar Spray
    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.

  1. Number of Treatments Required: Most likely, treatment will not be needed in Nymph stage. However, if the situation warrants control, no more than one treatment is recommended.  By the Adult stage, a systemic treatment is done early in this stage which starts in July.  Then, a systemic or contact treatment is applied in Fall.  This approach targets adult SLF when pressure is most intense and hard to control. The exact number of treatments will depend on the timing for the Adult stage each season and the point in the season when your first application is completed.
  2. Fertilization: SLF are intense feeders that suck the sap from trees.  Fertilizing infested trees promotes healing and builds strength.
  3. Remove Tree of Heaven: While SLF attacks many of trees found in your yard, Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus) is its favorite host tree.  This tree is like a magnet.   Any Tree of Heaven on or near your property will attract SLF.   That’s why, these trees must be destroyed.  Our Tree Care team is trained to handle the Tree of Heaven.  It’s not simple.  Tree of Heaven is a fast spreader.  We recommend removing the tree and grinding the stump down as deeply as possible.  After removing the Ailanthus tree and stump, sprouts may still pop up on your property.  To remove them, you can simply grab the shoot by its base and pull upward gently to remove the sprout and all of its roots.  If the sprouts are too numerous, Giroud can apply a herbicide treatment to kill them.

What You Can Do:

Spotted Lanternfly Life Cycle Nymphs Adults Egg Masses

There are many “Do It Yourself” actions you can take to control Spotted Lanternfly.  

  1. Walk your property year-round: Inspect your property regularly to search for signs of this pest.  First, you need to learn what Spotted Lanternfly looks like.  As the photo shows, this pest changes dramatically as it moves through its life cycle.  If you find them, below are the actions to take at each stage of its life cycle.
  2. Trap or Kill Nymphs from May-July:
  • Traps: Wrap high risk trees with sticky bands.   Surround the bands with chicken wire to prevent accidentally trapping wildlife.  Nymphs will get stuck as they crawl up and down the tree.  Replace bands every two weeks!   Sticky bands can be found at most hardware stores and also on Amazon.com.
  • Spot Treatments: If you see high populations 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.
  1. Find and destroy egg masses from September-May:  Stop future generations!  One female can lay up to 100 eggs on just about any smooth surface.  Scrape egg masses into a bag that contains rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer.  Learn more about How to Destroy Spotted Lanternfly Egg Masses.
  2. Don’t move outdoor items: Check for egg masses before transporting items such as furniture, stones, or firewood to new locations.
  3. Check your property for Trees of Heaven.  These trees are a magnet for Spotted Lanternfly and must be removed.  See Giroud’s Video, “How to Identify and Remove Ailanthus Saplings” to learn more:

Take Action

The first step is to find out if you have a Spotted Lanternfly problem.  Your Giroud ISA Certified Arborist will inspect your property, identify high risk trees and determine the best steps for control.

Get a Free Evaluation Today!

      5. Don’t move outdoor items: Check for egg masses before transporting items such as furniture, stones, or firewood to new locations.

Learn more about How To Get Rid of Spotted Lanternfly.

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