How We Manage Spotted Lanternflies

Invasive species pose a real threat to any region’s local ecosystem and agriculture, and spotted lanternflies in eastern Pennsylvania are no different. Spotted lanternflies are native to parts of China, India, and Vietnam. Their populations in those areas are widely kept in check by various predators and pathogens. They were first discovered in Pennsylvania in Berks County in September of 2014, and their population here has grown without normal predators to mitigate their spread. 

If you’re seeing spotted lanternfly egg masses, nymphs, or adults on your property, give Liberty Tree & Landscape Management a call. Our arborists will help you to identify certain trees on your property that are most susceptible to damage from the spotted lanternfly. We can determine certain trees that the spotted lanternfly will be most attracted to you and give them a soil injection so that when the lanternflies start to feed on them, they will be controlled. Below are some additional steps that you can take as a homeowner to help manage a heavy infestation of spotted lanternfly on your property 

For homeowners in Pennsylvania who are worried about these pests, it’s important to know that their season is right around the corner. Adult spotted lanternflies usually begin emerging each year during June or July and stick around throughout the rest of the summer and fall. Spotted lanternfly egg masses feed on trees and can cause serious damage, the PA Department of Agriculture has already deemed them a threat to the state’s fruit and logging industries. The spotted lanternfly is one of most maligned invasive species in Pennsylvania — and for good reasons, as they can cause serious and irreversible damage to your trees if they aren’t dealt with properly.  

Spotted lanternfly treatment requires the utmost care to ensure that they don’t continue to spread. If you discover spotted lanternflies or their egg masses on your property, there are several ways that you and your family can mitigate their spread and the damage they cause: 

Keep Horticultural Oil/Soap Handy 

If you have lanternflies on your property, it can be helpful to put some horticultural oil/soap in a spray bottle and keep it around to spray them on contact. Any lanternflies you see on your property should be sprayed directly with the soap as soon as you notice them. If you notice flies but don’t have any insecticidal soap ready, a mixture of water and isopropyl alcohol works well as a substitute. The above tactics can help with contact treatment of lantern flys you see on your trees.

Use Sticky Paper for Badly Infested Trees 

Sometimes, you may not notice spotted lanternflies right away and they can seem to “take over” one or more of the trees on your property. If you have a tree that is overrun with spotted lanternflies, it is not too late to get rid of them. To start, wrap sticky paper or duct tape (with the sticky side facing out) all around the base of the tree. Then, blast the tree with water from your hose or air from your leaf blower. This will knock a lot of the bugs out of the tree and the tape or sticky paper should catch them as they try to climb back up. Once the tape is full of flies, it should be burned or folded over and double bagged to ensure none of the bugs escape. For exceptionally bad invasions, reach out to our team of professionals for help. 

Bait the Flies With Milkweed 

As an invasive species, spotted lanternflies don’t have it in their DNA to recognize the local poisonous plants. One such poisonous plant that these flies are attracted to is the common milkweed. Spotted lanternflies in Pennsylvania will feed on milkweed, unaware that it’s poisonous, and become sick or die as a result. Milkweed is an effective but natural method of invasive species management and is easily grown in a wide range of soil types.  

Pennsylvania and other east coast states face a unique threat from spotted lanternflies, but by taking the right steps, we can stop their spread and mitigate the damage they cause. In some cases, the help of a professional tree and landscape service may be necessary — and that’s where we come in. Contact Liberty Tree & Landscape Management today to get an estimate and learn more about invasive species management and spotted lanternfly treatment in and around the Philadelphia area. 

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