How to Get Rid of a Spotted Lanternfly Infestation

Invasive species pose a real threat to any region’s local ecosystem and agriculture, and spotted lanternflies in eastern Pennsylvania are a pest that has become a major problem in recent years. Spotted Lanternflies are native to parts of China, India, and Vietnam, but their populations at home are kept in check by various predators and pathogens. Here, they tend to spread more aggressively — but they can be managed, and even prevented, with the right professional help. At Liberty Tree and Landscape Management, we know how to get rid of Spotted Lanternflies from experience, and can help you deal with this otherwise difficult pest.

The Spread of the Spotted Lanternfly in PA

Spotted Lanternflies were first discovered in Pennsylvania in Berks County on September 22, 2014, and their population here has grown without normal predators to mitigate their spread. Due to the age of some of the egg masses found, experts estimated that spotted lanternflies had been in the area since about 2012. Pennsylvania’s Game Commission and Department of Agriculture have deemed the Spotted Lanternfly a threat to the state’s fruit trees and logging industry. Spotted lanternfly infestations have also been confirmed in parts of New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware.

Signs of Spotted Lanternfly Damage

spotted lanternflies on a tree branch

Spotted Lanternflies damage host trees directly by feeding on the sap from their trunks and branches. Many of them feeding on the same plant can result in substantial deterioration of the whole plant. Sap can leak from wounds on the plant caused by feeding, and over time mold can form on the draining sap and accumulate at the base. This can cause serious damage to the plant and eventually prevent it from performing photosynthesis, leading to the death of the plant.

Their spread has been abetted by the transport of certain outdoor items containing egg masses. In response, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture banned the transport of certain outdoor items in November of 2014. The rule applies in several counties and the banned items include firewood, lawnmowers, outdoor chairs, trucks, and RVs.

Spotted Lanternfly Prevention

When eggs are discovered, it is important to take the right steps to prevent them from hatching and coming back. This can eliminate the need for more serious Spotted Lanternfly treatment. The eggs need to be handled very carefully. If you see them, scrape them off of all surfaces they are found on. Then, either double bag the eggs and throw them in the trash or drop them directly into a bag of hand sanitizer or another form of highly concentrated alcohol.

Spotted Lanternfly Treatment

When they are discovered on your property, it is imperative to get rid of spotted lanternflies as soon as possible. The situation needs to be handled very carefully by professionals to remove the insects from your property and prevent them from spreading elsewhere. Eggs begin appearing in October and usually hatch around May. If you are experiencing a spotted lanternfly infestation, the PA Department of Agriculture recommends taking several precautions for spotted lanternfly treatment that vary depending on season:

  • Remove any female Chinese Sumac trees from the property and wrap the remaining male trees in sticky bands beginning in early spring.
  • Use systemic pesticide treatment in the summer. The DOA recommends having your tree professional use injection and bark sprays, as well as foliar sprays for the surrounding soil.
  • Use insecticidal soaps like neem oil, pyrethrins, bifenthrin, carbaryl, and dinotefuran that have been approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture for the treatment of spotted lanternflies.

Spotted Lanternflies can be difficult to deal with on your own. Once they are discovered on your property, it is important to reach out to trained professionals who know how to safely get rid of spotted lanternflies and dispose of them. For more information on effective spotted lanternfly treatment and other insect and disease management services, reach out to the experts at Liberty Tree and Landscape Management today.

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