What You Need to Know about Spotted Lanternfly
Chances are that you have heard of the Spotted Lanternfly. There have been countless articles, flyers, and news segments on it. It is especially important in light of the fact that Spotted Lanternfly has been found in Lancaster, and will continue to be an issue.
The issue with Spotted Lanternfly is not only how fast it multiplies, but how fast it is spreading. Perhaps you have heard that it is in Lancaster County, but you do think that it is that big of a deal. Or maybe you know that it will be–but think it won’t be for a while. This is where we were. Sure, we had heard they would be an issue but did not expect that it would affect us this year. And yet they really are here. We have had countless customers come and ask how they should control the Spotted Lanternfly, something that we will go into greater detail on in future posts. We will also take a closer look at the life cycle of Spotted Lanternflies in a future post.
Here are some things that you should know about the Spotted Lanternfly:
They are an Incredibly Invasive Pest:
Chances are if you have heard about spotted Lanternfly you have heard that they are incredibly invasive. But chances are you are underestimating how big a problem that they are. We must not think of several insects but clusters of them much like with Japanese Beetles, only on the trunks of trees, not the small flowers. Spotted Lanternfly is native to China, India, and Vietnam, but it was accidentally spread to Korea in 2006 and were found in the United States in Berks County, PA in 2014.
They will Affect You:
When you think of the Spotted Lanternfly, maybe you think that it will not affect you. After all, you aren’t much of a gardener. Sure, you do have some plants. Maybe you just have a few flower beds and a tree. But here is the thing that it is possible not to realize. Spotted Lanternflies drip a honeydew residue that turns to mold. This mold can cover the side of a house or cover an outdoor item like steps or decks. For this reason, even if you do not have a single flower, they will affect you.
Another thing worth noting is that the honeydew also builds up on plants, blocking access to sunlight. This can eventually kill the plants.
They have no Major Native Predators:
This is perhaps one of the main concerns with Spotted Lanternfly: they have no native predators in the U.S. Sure, Praying Mantises, spiders, and Assinbug sometime eat them but not enough to control the populations. Beyond that, it does not seem like birds eat them. The good news, however, is that there is currently research into a type of parasitic wasp that was introduced to prey on Gypsy Moths that is known to attack egg masses. Undoublty, there will also be efforts into studying the introduction of Spotted Lanternflies natural predators from China. There is also talks to use RNAi technology against them.
If You See Them, You should Kill Them:
If you see a Spotted Lanternfly, you should kill them. But what is the best way to do this? It depends how bad they are. If there is only a few on the plant, tree, or the side of a building, etc, you can kill them mechanically with a broom or a fly swatter, etc. However, if there are a lot of Spotted Lanternflies present, you will want to spray. We recommend using Bonide Eight, however, there are several other sprays that can be used (see under Sources and Further Reading).
They Tend to Prefer Tree of Heaven:
One of the most important things to know about Spotted Lanternfly is that they prefer Tree of Heaven, but this can be easily misunderstood. This does not mean they do not eat other plants, it merely means that they prefer the Tree of Heaven, but eat other plants. Other favorites include Maples, Grapes, Pine, and fruit trees. But the problem is they eat almost everything.
They do not Bite:
The good thing about Spotted Lanternfly is that you do not have to worry about them biting you. They are not known to bite which makes them safer than a flies.