Spotted Lanternfly Banding

Banding trees with sticky tape can capture and kill spotted lanternfly nymphs and adults. This non-toxic, inexpensive technique can be used on any tree.
Spotted Lanternfly Banding - Videos


Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) is an invasive, destructive insect discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014. Since then it has invaded parts of 13 southeast PA counties. Unlike insects that target one crop or commodity, this insect threatens Pennsylvania grapes, hops, hardwoods, and tree fruits, and has been seen to feed on at least 70 different plants.

It has an impact on every resident within the areas of infestation, even if they have no association with these crops. While feeding, SLF secretes a sticky waste materials that coats anything beneath. That “honeydew” promotes the growth of an ugly black sooty mold and attracts stinging insects which feed on the sugar. Outdoor living areas can become unpleasant or even unusable. Every Pennsylvania resident has a vested interest in helping to suppress Spotted Lanternfly. This video illustrates one easy and effective strategy.


Horticulture/Master Gardener Coordinator

More by Elizabeth Finlay 

View Transcript

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- [Beth] Hello, Beth Finlay, Master Gardener Coordinator for Penn State Extension in Berks County.

- [Don] And I'm Don Seifrit, Extension Educator also in Berks County.

- [Beth] We're going to be talking about a technique today for capturing and killing spotted lanternfly in most of its life stages.

This is a nontoxic method, relatively inexpensive, and fairly easy for a homeowner to use.

You'll need just a few simple supplies that you can probably locate in your household.

A good cutting surface, a sharp slicing blade, pushpins, thumbtacks, or staples, a sticky tape, fly paper or similar that will capture the insects, and a measuring tape.

- [Don] There are many kinds of banding materials for us.

In small trials, we found that duct tape does not hold its sticky qualities long in the open air.

- [Beth] It also will be beneficial to have a working partner to help you with this project.

Measuring the tree trunk that you're going to tape will help conserve material and make your cutting and mounting a little more efficient, but it's not strictly necessary.

- [Don] The material we're using for this demonstration is a commercial fly paper which comes in 10 inch by 30 foot rolls.

It can be used in its full width or can be scored to create narrower bands.

Bands will be easier to handle if you create a non-sticky handle at each end of a cut strip by folding over one to two inches.

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It's important to note that sticky bands on trees have a small risk of capturing birds, bats, or other unintended creatures.

Bands of three inches or five inches will capture nearly as many SLF as wider bands.

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- [Beth] On a very large tree, you may want to cut strips ahead in a manageable length.

Walk the strips to the tree and pin and piece as you work your way around the tree linking the pieces together in a complete circle.

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Pushpins can be used to keep the tape in place.

That helps to place it as you work your way around the tree.

And then after the tape is mounted, the pushpins can be used at the lower edge to tighten the band into any gaps so that insects cannot crawl underneath it.

- [Don] That's because the insects crawl up tree trunks from the ground and encounter the tape at the lower edge.

Over time, dozens or hundreds of SLF will cover the lower portion of the tape with relatively fewer captures in the upper portion.

A wider tape carries a higher risk of unwanted captures simply because of the greater surface area.

- [Beth] We recommend that you reduce or eliminate that risk by placing wire caging outside the bands.

If you want to be especially careful about pollinating insects, you could even use window netting or screening outside.

The important thing is to remember to leave the bottom margin of any wire or protective caging open so that the insects can still access the tape as they crawl up the tree trunks.

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