Spotted Lanternfly

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Spotted Lanternfly Treatments Only Available in Pennsylvania

Commercial Spotted Lanternfly Treatments Only Available At This Time. Residential Spotted Lanternfly Treatments Are Still In A Testing Phase

The Spotted Lanternfly was first discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014. They are believed to have been introduced from South East Asia around 2012. Since 2014, they have spread to more than seven states including parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

They are plant parasites and have been observed feeding on more than 70 species of plant. Among their favorites are tree-of-heaven, grapes, hops, hardwood trees and fruit trees. It is believed they can spread plant diseases. Due to the large numbers often feeding at once, they can greatly weaken a tree or plant. This may cause slowed growth and, in some circumstances, may even lead to the death of the plant. This can be catastrophic for many industries including forestry, viniculture, orchards and landscaping.

When feeding, they expel a sweet sticky substance called honeydew. This substance often attracts ants and stinging insects in large numbers. The honeydew expulsion can be so high that it covers all surfaces beneath. Not only can this be unsightly and difficult to clean, but it also may support sooty mold growth. In some severe infestations during periods of warm weather, so much honeydew may be excreted that it appears to be raining from the tree above.

Identification

There are four juvenile stages prior to adulthood. The juveniles look very different from the adults. Juvenile are black in color with white dots early in their development and are about 1/4” in length. As the juveniles grow they become red and black with white dots and are approximately ½” long. Adults are Mauve in color and rest with their wing held above their back. When the adults become excited, they open their wings and reveal a bright red coloration beneath their wings.

If you believe you have spotted lanternflies, we recommend obtaining one or more samples and place them in a vial with alcohol. This will allow us to properly identify the pest in question.

Biology and Behavior

Females lay eggs beginning in September. These egg masses are deposited in rows and then covered with an excretion to better protect the eggs. Each mass of eggs contain 30-50 young. Females can create 2-3 such egg masses in her lifetime. Sometimes eggs are not covered and left exposed. The covering will dry out and crack over time.

Eggs will be laid on most surfaces. This is the only stage of a spotted lanternfly’s life cycle that survives the winter. Only one generation per year occurs in our region.
All life stages feed exclusively on plants. They are not capable of biting or stinging. They pose no risk to people and pets. Juvenile stages move quite quickly but cannot fly while adults fly readily. They are excellent hitchhikers. All life stages are easily transported to an un-infested area, but eggs pose the biggest risk for spreading this pest.

Control

While many insecticides will kill this pest on contact, residual control is difficult to achieve. Spotted Lanternflies can breed in such large numbers that they will repopulate in just a couple of days requiring reapplication. Therefore, it is not recommended to utilize most over-the-counter products to control this pest.

Viking Pest offers a specialized treatment specifically for Spotted Lanternflies. This treatment is currently only available for Pennsylvania residents. Viking’s Spotted Lanternfly treatment is specially formulated to prevent harming to non-target wildlife like squirrels and birds. Please contact Viking Pest for more information about our Spotted Lanternfly service plan and to see if it is available in your area.

Various home remedies can be found on the world wide web, but they are not recommended for controlling spotted lanternfly. Some seemingly harmless home remedies can be quite dangerous to you and the environment. The following link from Penn State explains in more detail why home remedies are best avoided.

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