People are looking for speciﬁc approaches to pest management to minimize off-target exposure to pesticides. This type of strategy is known as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) has been using an IPM strategy for spotted lanternfly infestations, and landowners may consider using the same IPM strategy on their properties, or hiring a professional service to do it.
IPM Strategy for the Spotted Lanternfly:
1. Locate Trees
Locate Ailianthus altissima trees on the site. For reasons not understood, spotted lanternfly seem to prefer some individual Ailanthus altissima trees over others. Try to identify the specific Ailanthus trees that are most attractive to the insects, based on how many are feeding on them. For information on how to identify Ailanthus altissima and how to control it, see this fact sheet: Invasive Exotic Plant Species: Ailanthus (Ailanthus altissima)
2. Destroy Most Trees
Destroy approximately 90% of the Ailanthus altissima trees, leaving only a few that are most attractive to the insect. They will serve as "trap" trees. It is recommended that you try to kill all the female Ailanthus altissima trees, because they produce seed and contribute to the spread of this invasive tree.
Be careful handling Ailanthus altissima wood, leaves, and branches. Chemicals in the sap of this tree can cause headaches, nausea, and possible heart problems. Wear gloves and protect yourself from exposure.
When you cut down Ailanthus altissima trees, they will sprout profusely from the stumps and can grow back in a few years. Because they regenerate so easily, it is highly recommended that you treat the stumps with a herbicide to kill them and prevent them from sprouting new shoots.
Herbicides that are labelled for this use usually contain one of the following active ingredients: triclopyr, dicamba, imazapyr or glyphoshate. Use the herbicide carefully and according to the label directions. Alternative methods for using herbicides to kill Ailanthus altissima trees include foliar sprays, basal bark applications, and a method called frill application or "hack and squirt." For more information about these methods go to Herbicides and Forest Vegetation Management. Whatever method you choose, remember that you will have dead Ailanthus trees which may eventually have to be removed.
3. Treat Remaining Trees
Treat the remaining Ailanthus altissima trees with a systemic insecticide that will move throughout the tree. The insecticide must be applied according to the label and at the right time of year for the trees to absorb it. When spotted lanternflies feed on correctly treated trees, they will die. Systemic insecticides that are labelled to treat ornamental trees usually contain the active ingredients dinotefuran or imidacloprid. The PDA is using dinotefuran in their IPM strategy.
Treating only a few trap trees with a systemic product can reduce the amount of insecticide released into the environment and may help conserve beneficial insects.
Spotted Lanternfly Management Calendar
|Destroy egg masses||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Destroy most Ailanthus altissima trees1||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Treat most Ailanthus trees with herbicide2,3||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Use sticky bands to destroy nymphs||X||X||X||X|
|Treat Ailanthus trap trees with systemic insecticides3||X||X||X|
|Registered contact insecticides may be effective3||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Avoid moving gravid (fertilized) females4||X||X||X||X||X|
|Avoid moving viable egg masses4||X||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Pedominant Life Stage Present-(one generation per year in Pennsylvania in 2015 and 2016)|
X Time to use management practices.
1Destroying all Ailanthus trees (Tree of Heaven) may result in spotted lanternfly moving to surrounding plants and increase the pest pressure on them. It is recommended about 10% of Ailanthus trees are left alive to serve as trap trees to attract the spotted lanternflies. Leave only male trees if possible.
2 Ailanthus trees will re-sprout vigorously from cut stumps and roots, unless they are treated with a systemic herbicide. Repeat applications of herbicide may be necessary.
3Always read herbicide and insecticide labels and follow the directions.
4 Before you move outdoor items from the quarantine area, check for spotted lanternfly egg masses, adults, and nymphs and destroy them. Use the checklist at the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's Checklist for Residents Living in Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Areas.
Prepared by: Emelie Swackhamer, Horticulture Extension Educator, Montgomery County, February, 2017.