Everything You Need to Know About Spotted Lanternfly

HUNTINGDON VALLEY, Pa. /ScoopCloud/ -- Giroud Tree and Lawn explains what Spotted Lanternfly is, how they harm trees and properties, and how to get rid of them. Spotted Lanternfly have been seen all over Philadelphia, Bucks and Montgomery Counties. The experts at Giroud Tree and Lawn have been working closely with the PA Department of Agriculture and Penn State to answer everything you need to know about Spotted Lanternfly. Plus, learn how to report Spotted Lanternfly sightings and the best methods for combatting the insect and treating trees.

What is Spotted Lanternfly?

Spotted Lanternfly are an invasive insect that is swarming the area in concerning numbers. First spotted in 2014, Penn State's Agriculture Extension has been monitoring Spotted Lanternfly and issuing warnings about this invasive insect. They're a problem for local farmers who are losing fruit and timber crops to the insects' voracious appetite. Homeowners are also seeing impacts that range from annoying to significant damage.

What Does Spotted Lanternfly Look Like?

This insect is difficult to control because it goes through several identities during its life cycle. Adult females lay eggs in the fall and cover the egg masses in a secretion that dries hard and camouflages to look like dirt or clay. The young nymphs that emerge from the eggs in spring are black with white spots at first, then they gain red markings on their bodies. Midsummer they become adults and shed their skin to form wings on their backs.

These wings are their true tell-tale, with bright red markings on a background of black, white and beige patterns. When the adults are at rest or feeding on tree sap, their signature red marks are hidden underneath their folded wings making them more difficult to identify.

Spotted Lanternfly Harms Trees

The Spotted Lanternfly feeds primarily on the Tree of Heaven, which is common throughout the region. Unfortunately, these flies also swarm other types of trees, including Black Walnuts, Maples, Apples, Willows, and many more. According to the PA Department of Agriculture, they attack more than 70 species of trees, and 25 of them are found in Pennsylvania.

At this point, it's hard to determine the long-term damage to trees. Emeilie Swackhamer, Penn State Horticulture Director, has been following the Spotted Lanternfly and monitoring infested trees for 3 years. She explains in an informational YouTube video that while it's still too early to say what the long-term effects will be, the insects are definitely causing significant die-back and defoliating branches in trees.

Spotted Lanternfly Causes Property Damage

These insects eat tree sap and then excrete droppings of a sweet, sticky substance called Honeydew. The honeydew will coat the tree, the base of the tree, and anything underneath the tree, including cars, hardscapes and decking. Then, black, sooty mold grows on the secreted substance. The combination of honeydew and black, sooty mold has an unpleasantly sour stench and is very difficult to remove from surfaces.

Spotted Lanternfly Attracts Dangerous Insects

The secreted honeydew attracts stinging wasps, who can't resist the tantalizing smell of the honeydew. Stinging wasps are particularly a problem for children playing in the area.

How to Get Rid of Spotted Lanternfly

It is going to take a statewide effort to combat the spread of this insect. Awareness is the first step!

"We are fully prepared to combat the Spotted Lanternfly," says Matt Giroud, Director of Field Operations at Giroud Tree & Lawn. "We are prepped and ready to treat these trees. The challenge is making the community aware of the problem."

The experts at Giroud Tree and Lawn have been working closely with Penn State's Department of Agricultural Sciences to determine the best treatments and techniques for combatting Spotted Lanternfly in each of the life cycle stages.

How to Get Rid of Spotted Lanternfly Nymphs

The most effective way to trap Spotted Lanternfly Nymphs is by wrapping trees with sticky bands, which can be found at most hardware stores and online. They are easy to install, but should be changed weekly. However, sticky bands can accidentally trap other insects and small animals and birds. Penn State recommends cutting the sticky bands lengthwise so the surface area is not as broad, and then wrap the outside of the tree with chicken wire over the area of the sticky band. This will prevent squirrels, birds and other small animals from becoming stuck.

How to Get Rid of Spotted Lanternfly Adults

Adult Spotted Lanternfly should be squashed and killed. However, these insects will attack a tree in swarms, making it difficult to squish them all! Chemical treatments may be necessary for large infestations of Spotted Lanternfly on a property.

Homeowners should call an ISA Certified Arborist if there are signs of Spotted Lanternfly on the property. Penn State and the PA Department of Agriculture have recommended a two-part treatment program to eliminate Spotted Lanternfly.
* July-Mid-September: Dinotefuran is applied as a Basal Trunk Spray. For a few weeks after treatment, the insects are killed on contact or when they crawl on treated surfaces. After the insecticide is absorbed through the tree's vascular system, Spotted Lanternfly are killed when they feed on the tree.
* September-Mid-November: Bifenthrin is sprayed on trees with Spotted Lanternfly. This treatment kills the insects on contact and when they walk over surfaces with the residue on it.

How to Find and Destroy Spotted Lanternfly Egg Masses

Adult Spotted Lanternfly start to lay their eggs in September through November, and one female Spotted Lanternfly can lay up to 100 eggs. Removing and destroying egg masses will greatly reduce the spread of Spotted Lanternfly.
* Destroy any eggs and coated egg masses. One female Spotted Lanternfly can lay up to 100 eggs! They can easily be scraped off. Put them into a bag with rubbing alcohol to kill them.
* Always check benches, stones, firewood, and anything else before moving them. Spotted Lanterfly will lay eggs on virtually any smooth surface, typically on the undersides where the egg masses are better protected from predators. Egg masses can be found on benches, stones, firewood, cars, playsets, railings, outdoor grills, and patio furniture.
* Along with eggs and egg masses, look for honeydew secretions, black, sooty mold and swarms of wasps.

In this instructional video, Giroud Tree and Lawn explains what to look for and how to remove and destroy Spotted Lanternfly Egg Masses: https://youtu.be/2R69LEnBOCs

How to Report Spotted Lanternfly Sightings

An incredible amount of research and field study goes into figuring out the best ways to combat Spotted Lanternfly. Penn State and the PA Department of Agriculture urge everyone to report their Spotted Lanternfly sightings. They have created a webpage for easy reporting:

Click Here to Report your sightings of Spotted Lanternfly!
Or call 1-888-4BadFly to report over the phone: https://extension.psu.edu/have-you-seen-a-spotted-lanternfly

About Giroud Tree and Lawn

Giroud Tree and Lawn specializes in tree service, lawn care and mosquito and tick control programs that make customers love doing business with the company since 1974. Serving Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties, the company offers professional tree and lawn evaluation, tree pruning, tree removal, insect and disease control, fertilizing, stump removal, traditional and 100% organic lawn programs and mosquito and tick control. Giroud Arborists are certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and have the knowledge and experience required to properly diagnose, treat and maintain trees and lawn health.

The company is Accredited by the Tree Care Industry Association and Better Business Bureau. Giroud has also been awarded the Angie's List Super Service Award(r) every year since 2005. The "Giroud Treework for Charity" program donates free tree care services to parks, historical sites and other non-profit organizations located in the Company's service area.

For more information, visit the company website at http://www.giroudtree.com/ or call 215-682-7704.

News from Giroud Tree and Lawn

Giroud Tree and Lawn explains what Spotted Lanternfly is, how they harm trees and properties, and how to get rid of them. Spotted Lanternfly have been seen all over Philadelphia, Bucks and Montgomery Counties in 2019.

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