How to Get Rid of Spotted Lanternflies in the Garden
The Spotted Lanternfly is known to feed on over 70 species of plants. Here are some examples of the most commonly reported host plants:
- Grapevines (Vitis species)
- Apple trees (Malus species)
- Stone fruit trees, such as peaches and plums (Prunus species)
- Black walnut trees (Juglans nigra)
- Maple trees (Acer species)
- Birch trees (Betula species)
- Poplar trees (Populus species)
- Willow trees (Salix species)
- Tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima)
It's important to note that while these plants are the most commonly reported host plants for Spotted Lanternfly, the insect can also feed on many other plants. It's essential to monitor your garden and surrounding areas for Spotted Lanternflies and to take appropriate action if you suspect their presence. If you are unsure whether a plant is a host for Spotted Lanternfly or have questions about protecting your garden, contact your local extension office or other plant experts for guidance.
The Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) is an invasive insect species that is native to China, Vietnam, and other parts of Asia. It was first detected in the United States in Berks County, Pennsylvania, in 2014 and has since spread to other parts of the Northeastern United States. The states that are currently impacted by Spotted Lanternfly infestations include Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and New York.
It's important to note that the Spotted Lanternfly is a highly invasive species that can cause significant damage to plants and crops. As a result, it's crucial to take appropriate action to prevent their spread and to report any sightings to local authorities.
The Spotted Lanternfly is a planthopper insect that is about one inch long (2.5 cm) and half an inch (1 cm) wide, with wings that are light brown with black spots and a red underwing. The insect has a distinctive appearance, with a bright yellow abdomen and black and white bands around its wings.
The Spotted Lanternfly feeds on the sap of plants, causing damage to trees, grapevines, and other crops.
The Spotted Lanternfly has a life cycle that consists of several stages:
Egg: The Spotted Lanternfly lays egg masses on surfaces such as trees, rocks, and outdoor furniture. The eggs are covered in a waxy substance that gives them a mud-like appearance.
Nymph: The nymph stage has four instars, during which the insect undergoes significant growth and development. Nymphs are small and black with white spots, and they feed on the sap of plants.
Adult: The adult Spotted Lanternfly is about one inch long and half an inch wide, with wings that are light brown with black spots and a red underwing. Adults feed on the sap of plants, and they mate to produce eggs for the next generation.
The Spotted Lanternfly has one generation yearly, and the egg masses typically hatch in the spring. The nymphs go through four stages of growth before molting into the adult form in late summer or early fall. The adults are most active in late summer and early fall and are known to feed and mate on trees and plants before laying their eggs for the next generation.
Damage and Detection
The Spotted Lanternfly can cause significant damage to plants and crops. The insect feeds on the sap of plants, causing wilting, leaf curling, and eventual death. They are known to excrete large amounts of sticky, sugary liquid called "honeydew," which can attract other insects, such as wasps and ants, and promote the growth of black sooty mold on affected plants.
In addition to direct damage to plants, Spotted Lanternflies can also threaten the agricultural industry, including the grape, fruit, and lumber industries, as they feed on trees and other crops.
To detect Spotted Lanternflies, it's important to look for the following signs:
Egg masses: Spotted Lanternflies lay their eggs in masses that look like mud or clay, often on flat surfaces such as trees, rocks, or outdoor furniture.
Nymphs: The nymph stage has four instars, and the insects are small and black with white spots. Nymphs are typically found on trees and plants, where they feed on the sap.
Adults: Adults are most active in late summer and early fall and are often found on trees and plants, where they feed and mate.
Prevention and Control
Here are some ways to prevent and control Spotted Lanternflies:
Inspection and removal: Regularly inspect your property, including trees, outdoor furniture, and other surfaces, for Spotted Lanternfly egg masses and adults. If you find egg masses, scrape them off and destroy them by placing them in a plastic bag and disposing of them. You can also use a hard-bristled brush to remove the egg masses.
Sticky bands: You can wrap sticky bands around the trunk of a tree to trap Spotted Lanternfly nymphs and adults. The bands should be placed at eye level or higher and replaced every one to two weeks.
Insecticides: You can use insecticides to control Spotted Lanternfly populations, but it's important to use them according to the product label and in accordance with local regulations. Follow all safety instructions when using insecticides, and consider consulting a professional pest control company.
Biological controls: There are also several biological controls being studied for Spotted Lanternfly control, including predators, parasitoids, and pathogens. These are not yet widely available, but research is ongoing.
Tree of heaven removal: The Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) is a primary host of Spotted Lanternfly, so removing these trees can help reduce insect populations.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Flickr, Ondreicka/Shutterstock
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.