HOW TO KILL & CONTROL SPOTTED LANTERNFLY

What is spotted lanternfly?
The spotted lanternfly resembles a moth when it jumps or flies, but in reality, it is neither a fly nor a moth. It is a type of planthopper that belongs to the Order Hemiptera (cicadas, leafhoppers, and aphids). The adults prefer to feed primarily on the non-native host plant “tree of heaven” (Allianthus altissima) while the immature stages (or nymphs) will feed on a wide range of trees, fruits, and even grape vines. Spotted lanternfly egg masses (or clusters of eggs) are brown, seed-like in appearance, and about 1-inch long. They are covered in a mud-like secretion that helps them stay glued to a surface in a mass. After they hatch, the nymphs go through 4 growth phases, or instars. Immature nymphs are black with white spots, and they gain red markings at they mature through the 4th instar. Late stage nymphs are about ½-inch in length. Adult spotted lanternflies are 1-inch long, have brownish forewings with black spots and hindwings that are red with black spots.

What trees do they damage?
Spotted lanternflies will feed on a variety of host plants from May through November, and their feeding preferences change as they mature. Nymphs will feed on a wide-range of host plants while the adults target only a few species. There are over 65 known species of plants that the SLF will feed on, including ornamental trees (like lilac and dogwood), fruit trees, vines (like grapes), small fruits (such as blueberries), hops, and several vegetables.

Preferred plant species for SLF nymphs:
Tree of heaven
Willow
Maple
Poplar
Prunus spp. (plums, cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots)
Apple
Pine
Grape vines
Preferred tree species for SLF adults:
Tree of heaven
Willow

In addition to this information many of the East Coast farmers and businesses rely on these trees for financial stability. More over, this makes up approximately, 65 percent of the East Coasts economy.

How to control spotted lanternfly

There are 5 steps that need to be taken to help control and prevent the spread of spotted lanternfly.

Stop the spread. If you live in or visit areas of the U.S. where SLF has been found, check any outdoor items for egg masses before moving them. This includes vehicles, firewood, outdoor furniture, picnic tables, boats, and children’s toys.

Remove the eggs. From late September through May, be on the lookout for egg masses. The egg masses can be scraped off surfaces using a knife or a thin plastic card. The egg masses should be sealed in a plastic bag or placed directly into hand sanitizer or alcohol to kill them before they are disposed of.

Control the nymphs. From late April through early November, tree banding using a product like Tree Tanglefoot® Insect Barrier, can be done to high risk host trees to capture the nymphs as the climb the trunk to feed. The tree bands should be routinely removed and replaced every 1 to 2 weeks through July. Nymphs can also be controlled by spraying them with Ortho® Home Defense® Insect Killer for Lawn & Landscape Concentrate and Ready-To-Spray or Ortho® Bug B Gon® Insect Killer for Lawns & Gardens Concentrate and Ready-To-Spray following label directions.

Remove tree of heaven. From mid-summer through early-fall, cut down high-risk host plants for the adult SLF, like tree of heaven. To prevent the SLF from damaging other plants on your property, only remove about 90% of the host trees and use the remaining 10% as “trap trees” so you can control the adult SLFs. Cut down the trees and then treat the stumps with a tough brush killer, like Ortho® MAX® Poison Ivy & Tough Brush Killer Concentrate, following label directions. Note: Tree of heaven is difficult to control and may require several applications to fully kill the root system. Remember, if you live in a quarantined county in PA, the wood cannot be removed from the quarantined area.

Control the adults. When the adults emerge from June-August, control them with an insecticide application. Ortho® Home Defense® Insect Killer for Lawn & Landscape Concentrate and Ready-To-Spray or Ortho® Bug B Gon® Insect Killer for Lawns & Gardens Concentrate and Ready-To-Spray will kill spotted lanternfly on contact when applied following label directions.

Please remember that all sightings of spotted lanternfly adults, nymphs, and egg masses should be reported to your local university extension or state plant regulatory official, as well as the PA Department of agriculture.

Quarantined States:
Pennsylvania
Delaware
New Jersey
New York
Virginia
Washington D.C.
Maryland

We’re still gathering information on more quarantined states.

The Spotted Lanternfly Invasion

The Spotted Lanternfly has invaded the East Coast of the United States. This type of insect has no natural predators here and is an invasive species. The CDC and the Department Of Agriculture are urging residents throughout the East Coast to kill singles on sight and report infestations. The LanternFly, if not eradicated can destroy plant life, such as crops, trees and other resources we need to sustain livability.

In a Facebook post early Friday morning, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture warned that spotted lanternfly nymphs are beginning to change colors and are becoming more destructive.

“They’re growing! And…changing? #SpottedLanternfly nymphs are beginning to turn red,” the post warned. If you see a #BadBug that looks like this, kill singles and report infestations!!!

The egg masses from spotted lanternflies can generally be seen on various species of trees through the month of May, before the lanternfly begins to hatch.

Nymphs first appear black with white spots and are wingless, but ultimately develops red patches and white spots as they mature. At this point, the Department of Agriculture says:

Nymphs are now over a half-inch inch long
Jump readily when approached or touched
Adult spotted lanternflies begin appearing in July. At rest, they are large bugs sporting grayish wings with black spots, and the tips are black and gray.

When flying or startled, the insect will display vibrant red hind wings
Adults are around 1 inch long and a half inch wide with wings folded
Adults can jump several feet when startled or approached
Officials are urging anyone who sees this invasive bug to kill if possible and to report infestations online at https://extension.psu.edu/.

The state continues to fight the spread of the spotted lanternfly. In April, the Department of Agriculture began requiring businesses to have a permit to move goods and vehicles within and out of the lanternfly quarantine zone, which includes Lehigh and Northampton counties and most of eastern Pennsylvania. Inspectors continue to be on the lookout for businesses to make sure they have a permit that indicates the company has completed training on the quarantine rules.

Businesses face deadline to get spotted lanternfly permit
Officials are reminding any business without a permit to obtain one and learn the basics of spotting the spotted lanternfly.

Origin and distribution
Spotted lanternfly is native to China and is present in Southeast Asia. It was first reported in South Korea in 2006 and rapidly spread to different parts of the country.

Host range
Spotted lanternfly feeds on a variety of host plants including fruit trees, ornamental trees, woody trees, and vines. Apples, birch, cherry, dogwood, grapes, Korean Evodia, lilac, maple, poplar, stone fruits, and tree-of-heaven are among more than 70 species of hosts attacked by this pest. Tree-of-heaven, which contains high concentrations of cytotoxic alkaloids, is one of the favorite hosts. This is probably why spotted lanternfly is considered poisonous and used in traditional Chinese medicine. Other preferred hosts such as Korean Evodia (Bebe tree) are also used in oriental medicine suggesting that spotted lanternfly has a high preference for hosts that contain toxic secondary metabolites. Observations in South Korea also indicate that spotted lanternfly appears to have a wider host range early in life as young nymphs and a narrow range as they grow older, especially before egg laying. Choosing plants with toxic metabolites for egg laying is thought to be a mechanism of defense to protect from natural enemies. Although grape vine does not have toxic metabolites like these other hosts, spotted lanternfly showed a strong preference in studies conducted in South Korea. Sugar content of the host plant also appears to play a role in their choice with a preference for hosts containing high sucrose and fructose content.

Damage
Adults and nymphs feed on phloem tissues of foliage and young stems with their piercing and sucking mouth-parts and excrete large quantities of liquid. Due to the sugar content of the liquid, plant parts covered with spotted lanternfly excretion harbor mold growth, which could hinder plant growth or even cause death.

Scientists/biologists are working on a way to cull the lanternflies numbers. Right now they believe a fungus and a local wasp species are able to decrease the lanternflies numbers. When we receive more information pertaining to the certainty we will update.