Spotted lanternfly season is almost upon us. Read on to learn about this insect and what to do if you see them on your property.
History of the spotted lanternfly
The spotted lanternfly, indigenous to the south of China, has invasively spread to several other parts of the world, including Japan, South Korea, Canada and the United States. In fact, the insect was first spotted right in our area—Berks County, PA—in September 2014.
Since then, the insect has spread to several northeastern states, including New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Connecticut, New York, Virginia and West Virginia.
Why are spotted lanternflies bad?
The spotted lanternfly is considered a planthopper, and while it has two pairs of wings, it usually jumps more than it flies. It feeds on several types of plants and trees by piercing the plant tissue and sucking the sap. They also produce a sugary waste fluid that coats the leaves or stems of plants, which can encourage mold growth.
Substantial damage can occur when large amounts of lanternflies feed on a plant or tree.
How to control spotted lanternflies
If you find a spotted lanternfly, you should try to kill them.
The most effective way to eliminate them is to disrupt their favorite food and hang-out. In late summer and fall, their favorite is to feed on a tree commonly known as the "Tree of Heaven," or Chinese sumac. If you have any on your property, consider reducing the number and treat the remaining trees with insecticides. This is a longer-lasting solution than spraying existing visible insects. Preliminary results show insecticides with the active ingredients dinotefuran, imidacloprid, carbaryl, and bifenthrin are effective at controlling the lanternfly.
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