Spotted Lanternflies are most active between now and the onset of winter, swarming to feed off of stone fruit trees, grape vines, hops, hardwoods and ornamental trees. They also begin laying egg masses in the fall.
Residents in Solebury have spotted several large swarms of the pest in the Lumberville area. To protect your plants and trees from Spotted Lanternfly, it's important to take the right steps at the appropriate time of the year.
There are two actions homeowners can take in September: Eradicate the host plant and destroy egg masses.
Tree of Heaven is the preferred host for the Spotted Lanternfly. This is an invasive species that is common along roadsides and occasionally used in landscaping.
The tree must be completely killed through multiple applications of herbicide and cut down. Tree of Heaven is particularly resilient, quickly producing new shoots from a cut stump and reproducing through both seeds and root clones. Multiple applications of herbicide over time are often necessary to completely kill this plant.
Spotted Lanternflies begin laying their eggs in September, which will hatch the following June. This is our window to find them, scrape them off the tree and destroy them.
The pest lays its eggs on just about any hard surface it can find: Tree bark, cement blocks, rocks, even the undercarriage of a trailer. Not all egg masses will be visible; some will be laid at the tops of trees.
Egg masses can be scraped off with a plastic card, a putty knife, or any similarly pliant tool. The eggs should be scraped into a container, like a resealable plastic baggie, that is filled with either isopropyl alcohol or hand sanitizer.
Pesticides are most effective against Spotted Lanternflies when applied in spring and early summer. Some contact insecticides might still be useful to protect individual plants and trees; contact a tree care professional to determine if chemical control is a useful option for your situation.
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has placed several counties, including Bucks, under quarrantine to help prevent the spread of this pest. The state's quarantine order, map, and training instructions for commerical transportation are attached below.
Penn State University's Extension Service is serving as the information clearinghouse for Spotted Lanternfly. You can visit their website for general information at https://extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly and read their management guide for homeowners at https://extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly-management-for-homeowners, which is the source for much of what we've described here.
The state Department of Agriculture has additional information about the quarantine in effect against the spread of this pest, how to report a Spotted Lanternfly sighting and tips for contractors and businesses at http://www.agriculture.pa.gov/spottedlanternfly.
The two documents attached below are useful to homeowners: A guide to spotting Spotted Lanternfly egg masses, and a checklist to follow if you're traveling outside the county to help stop the spread of this pest.