Using Trap Trees for Spotted Lanternfly Control
As we have been saying in the past few posts, the Spotted Lanternfly is an invasive species that has been a big issue and will continue to be so. More than that, we also covered that it will be an issue for everyone, not just those who have trees and gardens. And the reason for this is the honeydew that Spotted Lanternflies produce quickly turns to mold leaves a black residue. This residue can cover any number of things from the patio to your siding, even your car.
In our last post, we wrote about how to control the Spotted Lanternfly through the removal of Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) and we mentioned using trap trees. This is the very thing that will be looking at in this article. And this being said, the concept of using trap trees is rather simple. Basically, the goal is to first remove roughly 90% of the trees and leave only male trees so that they do not produce seed. These male trees are then sprayed or treated with a systemic.
Identify any Tree of Heaven on your property
One of the most important things that you can do to control Spotted Lanternfly is to control the Tree of Heaven. But you can’t do this without knowing what the Tree of Heaven looks like. The Tree of Heaven is a fast-growing tree with bark that looks not unlike a cantaloupe. The leaves vary in length and have anywhere from 10-40 leaflets. Beyond this, the Tree of Heaven has a strong, offensive odor that can be smelled when the leaves or any other part of the tree is cut.
Remove roughly 90% of the Tree of Heaven, leaving on male trees
The best practice when removing the Tree of Heaven is to try to leave only male trees. The reason for this is that the female trees are the only ones that produce seeds. This prevents further spread of the Tree of Heaven, especially since each tree can produce upwards of 300,000 seeds. Beyond this, trees may send up sucker shoots.
Treat the remaining trees with a systemic
Having removed about 90% of the Tree of Heavens from your property, your next step is to use a systemic. Here are some of the systemic insecticides that the PA Department of Agriculture recommends and that we recommend as well:
BAYER ADVANCED 12 MONTH TREE & SHRUB INSECT CONTROL
BONIDE ANNUAL TREE AND SHRUB INSECT CONTROL WITH SYSTEMAXX
ORTHO BUG-B-GON YEAR‐LONG TREE & SHRUB INSECT CONTROL CONCENTRATE
Watch the Spotted Lanternflies fall
Having treated the Trees with a systemic anytime that a Spotted Lanternfly tries to eat it, it will ingest the spray and die. Due to this and the fact that the Tree of Heaven is like a magnet to Spotted Lanternfly, there will be many dead Spotted Lanternflies around the base of the tree.