Spotted Lantern Fly Invasion: Learn More About This New Pest in Western PA
The Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) is a new and rapidly spreading pest native to Southeast Asia. It was discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014 and has since spread to many other counties throughout the state. The insect’s larvae feed on tree sap, creating wounds that can weaken trees and make them more prone to disease or death.
What do Spotted Lantern Flies Look Like?
The Spotted Lanternfly is a planthopper, meaning it is related to grasshoppers and crickets. Its body can grow up to 1” in length, and its wingspan ranges from 1.5” – 2.0”. The adult spotted lantern fly has four distinct stages of growth: egg mass, nymphs, adult, and overwintering. The insect is most easily identified by its black spots on a brick-red background that covers its wings.
What Can We Do to Reduce the Impact of Spotted Lantern Flies?
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) recommends applying tree banding in late summer, which can help reduce the spread of spotted lanternflies. Tree banding involves placing sticky material around the trunk of infested trees to trap and kill the adults as they climb up and down the tree. Additionally, hand-picking and squashing spotted lanternfly adults is also recommended by PDA.
Homeowners can also help reduce the spread of the insect by inspecting decorations, firewood, trees, and plants before bringing them into their homes. It is also important to inspect vehicles for insects before moving them from one location to another.
Any sightings of the Spotted Lanternfly should be reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s website or through an online reporting form. The department encourages people to take photos of the insect when possible.
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