Spotted Lanternfly: Management Options through the Seasons
Methods to combat the spotted lanternfly vary throughout the year.
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- [Amy] Hello, I'm Amy Korman.
I'm the Extension Educator in Northampton and Lehigh Counties.
Welcome to our instruction on spotted lanternfly, management options through the seasons.
In this session we will look at different control strategies that are available to help in controlling this invasive pest.
There are many properties in the affected area.
We really need the help of property owners to do as much as possible.
If you are outside of the quarantined area please report any sightings of spotted lanternfly to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
The quarantined area changes so you should check the PDA website to find the most recent information on what counties are included.
You should try to capture a specimen or at least get a good photograph of what you see.
Call the phone number listed here or email email@example.com to report your finding.
Remember, the most important step in planning insect control is to learn to identify spotted lanternfly in all its life stages and to understand its life cycle.
That information was provided to you in a separate video.
This session assumes that you have learned those key elements and are ready to learn more about controlling spotted lanternfly.
A key feature of this integrated pest management plan utilizes specific practices based on the insect's life cycle throughout the year.
Generally, the overall strategy is to destroy them if possible and eliminate opportunities to move spotted lanternfly to new areas.
This picture of a handout summarizes what to do if you find it on your property.
This document is available on the Penn State Extension website.
This chart summarizes your options for an integrated pest management plan.
We abbreviate that as IPM for spotted lanternfly.
It is conveniently arranged in a calendar format and you can see what your options are during each month.
Again, this is information that's available on the Extension website.
Beginning at the top of the list on the left-hand side of this chart our presentation will go step-by-step through control options.
For this overview presentation we will only briefly discuss the details of using the trap tree method for control.
Spotted lanternflies start ovapositing egg masses in late September.
Therefore, if you begin to look for egg masses in October you can destroy the ones that you can reach.
Here are pictures to help you know what they look like.
The left-hand side shows an egg mass in November.
The female covers the eggs with a waxy substance but sometimes she misses some of her eggs during the covering process.
We often see eggs protruding from under the covering.
The right side shows the same eggs in March.
It has weathered and developed cracks in its covering but the eggs are still viable.
So far, over 1.5 million eggs have been destroyed and reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
We know that people can get rid of a large number of spotted lanternflies simply by scraping egg masses.
Here is a picture of a cinder block that was underneath trees with spotted lanternfly.
The females laid eggs on the blocks below.
This photo shows how to scrape an egg mass into a plastic bag or container.
Hold the bag firmly against the object just below the egg mass, scrape in a downward motion into the bag.
You can use a scraper card or any other piece of plastic.
Double bag them and throw them in the trash or better yet add some alcohol, rubbing alcohol, or liquid hand sanitizer to the bag to destroy the eggs.
You can also smash the eggs to destroy them using a scraper card or a stick or a rock and sticks are always easy to find.
Each egg mass contains about 30 to 50 eggs so you can destroy many individual insects by scraping a few egg masses.
This is a picture that was taken after an egg mass was scraped off a piece of rusty metal, a favorite place for them to lay eggs.
You can see the faint outline of where the eggs were located on this object.
If you destroy egg masses you would like you to report how many you scraped.
The PDA uses that information to track the population density and prioritize which areas may be good candidates for the tree removal and treatment process.
It's really pretty easy to enter your accounts into the PDA site.
The next few slides will show you how to do that.
To report egg masses that you have destroyed go to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Spotted Lanternfly website home page.
Scroll down and you will find the reporting section on egg mass scraping program.
It will take you to a page that looks like this.
There is a field at the top of the webpage where you can enter the address of the property.
Enter the address and hit Find Location.
Here I'm using the address of District Township Berks County Municipal Office, which is 202 Weil Road, Boyertown.
The text will scroll in the box so you won't be able to see the whole address after finishing the letters of Boyertown, it will just push that off to the left.
The location tool seems to work fine without a zip code.
The locator will drop a pin right where you've parked the address.
You can zoom in and out of this view using the zoom tool on the lower right-hand corner of this page.
Here's a zoomed view.
You can place a pin exactly where the egg masses were by clicking on the screen and moving the pin anywhere you want to have a more refined location of where you reported egg masses.
I've placed a pin at the actual location where the egg masses were next to a bunch of trees at the top of this tennis court.
Next, you will enter the number of egg masses you've scraped into the fields below.
There's a section for any comments that you would like to record, things like what kind of tree the egg masses were located on or anything specific about the site like rocky terrain, we saw a snake wrapped around the tree, lots of birds, et cetera, something that makes it easy for somebody to find that location at a future date.
Remember, once you've entered your information please click Save.
So, throughout almost all year long you can destroy most of your Ailanthus trees.
But first you have to be able to identify Ailanthus trees on your property.
Ailanthus trees have a big compound leaf.
You can see long leaf, lots of small leaflets arranged on this big leaf.
The compound leaf is made up of many leaflets and at the base of the leaflets you can see a little lobe which is very characteristic of Ailanthus.
If you crush the leaves or the stems they have an odor that smells like rancid or burnt peanut butter.
Again, very characteristic of Ailanthus.
That compound leaf has a big stalk that attaches to the branches.
Here we see the base of the stalk in this picture.
The scars where the old leaves fell off the tree are quite big.
That's a very pronounced scar that was on this tree, very characteristic of Ailanthus.
It's a good practice to avoid parking cars or storing things under trees, especially Ailanthus trees if you know they are infested with spotted lanternflies.
Females that were gathering on the trees will lay eggs on objects underneath just not on the tree.
So it could be your car or a trailer or some other object that you would really rather not have spotted lanternfly eggs on that particular piece of property.
Landowners can use the same trap tree method that the PDA is using.
We want to get rid of most of the Ailanthus trees but keep a few of them, approximately 10 to 15%, to attract spotted lanternflies.
Then we can treat the few remaining trees with a systemic insecticide and we can kill more insects with less pesticide using this method.
If you cut down Ailanthus trees they will resprout profusely from the trunks and the root system.
You have to keep cutting them back probably for years to really kill the tree and I caution people that exposure to Ailanthus sap can cause skin and cardiac problems.
So please wear protective waterproof gloves if you are handling cut Ailanthus tree material.
It's possible to keep cutting them back and eventually kill an Ailanthus tree but you can also use an herbicide to keep them from resprouting.
You can use a concentrated herbicide to treat the cut stumps.
This is one of the types of herbicides that would work.
Some herbicides can also be used as a basal bark treatment which will kill a standing tree.
The best time of year to use the herbicide to kill the Ailanthus tree is probably from July to September.
Most importantly, please read the label and follow all directions carefully.
Sticky bands will help control the spotted lanternfly from May through about August.
They will trap and kill many young nymphs.
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has a sticky band program for volunteers that they can use on their Ailanthus trees.
We'll talk about using sticky bands at another time.
One negative side effect of using sticky bands is that occasionally they capture a songbird or other good creature.
They also capture spiders and other insects.
It seems there are not many companies selling them and perhaps this is the reason why.
There is a type of sticky band called Tree Barrier that cleverly puts the sticky part on the inside where it is less likely to capture off-target creatures.
You can also make sticky bands by wrapping duct tape around the trees, sticky side out, or some people wrap duct tape around trees sticky side in and coat the outside with Vaseline or a product called Tanglefoot which traps insects.
There are many online fact sheets to learn how to make sticky bands from other extension services.
If you are setting up the trap tree method on your property you would apply the systemic insecticides when the leaves are on the trees, which would be in June through early September.
The early months in this window would be best to help kill the insects before they can begin to lay eggs.
The two most likely insecticides that you will find for this purpose are called dinotefuran and imidacloprin.
The PDA is using a dinotefuran product.
There are dinotefuran products which are not restricted use pesticides and they are available to homeowners as well who do not have a pesticide license.
The product in the top left side picture is dinotefuran, which is applied as a soil drench, and the product on the bottom left side is dinotefuran which can be applied as a spray onto the trunk of the tree.
If these systemic insecticides are used as drenches they are taken up by the tree roots through the soil moisture.
So soil drenches may not be as effective in dry weather.
Whatever you decide to use, always read the label and follow directions.
Briefly, the trap tree method uses the insect's attraction to Ailanthus trees to our advantage to kill it.
Here in this diagram we have a number of Ailanthus trees and removed most of them.
In this case I took out 90% of the trees.
If you're going to do this be sure to target female trees for removal in order to stop seed production.
The remaining trees then are treated with a systemic pesticide as we just described.
This insecticide will be transported up into and throughout the tree and then later in the season when the insects are attracted to feed specifically on the Ailanthus tree they essentially get a poisoned drink of tree sap.
This is an effective way to kill the spotted lanternfly.
Again, always read the labels on pesticide products to ensure the correct amount of product is used with the correct application and at the correct time.
You will be protecting yourself and the environment.
In May through November you can kill spotted lanternfly adults as well as immatures with contact insecticides.
We have some preliminary results that suggest even some of the softer insecticides may be effective.
In Pennsylvania pesticide regulations require that a product may only be used according to the directions on the label.
The label must list the site or location where a pesticide, in this case an insecticide, may be used.
There are insecticides available with labels that list ornamental trees as an allow site.
It is legal to use these products on ornamental trees including Ailanthus altissima to try to kill insects including the spotted lanternfly.
You can check at your garden center to see what they offer.
Some of these products may be more effective than others so you should take note if the product that you tried works well or not.
But, before you decide to spray your trees, you really need to consider what sort of spray equipment you should use.
If you have big trees with insects that are high up in the canopy you might want to try calling a tree care professional to do the application for you.
Whatever you do, always read the label and follow directions.
In our trials, we tried a variety of pesticides.
We looked at contact pesticides and we looked at systemic pesticides as well.
What we found in our preliminary test is that horticulture oil spinosad and insecticidal soap were not very effective.
Neem oil gave us some variable results but imidacloprid as a contact spray; carbaryl, pyrethrins, bifenthrin; were much more effective than our other contact spray options.
Our systemic pesticides, the ones that we applied as a bark spray or a tree drench, included the active ingredients of dinotefuran and imidacloprid and we found that these were very effective at killing spotted lanternfly adults.
People have reported finding spotted lanternfly adults in the beds of pickup trucks and on cars.
One female will probably lay at least two egg masses.
So moving even one spotted lanternfly to a new area could initiate a new infestation.
Don't park your cars under trees where the adults are present and active and please inspect your vehicles before you move them so you don't transport them elsewhere.
Spotted lanternflies will lay their eggs on just about anything.
In late summer through May, avoiding moving those egg masses.
In this picture we have an old fence post, a cement block, old tires, all of these materials are covered with spotted lanternfly egg masses.
We really want people to be careful to inspect the materials that they're trying to move to make sure that they're not moving infested materials throughout the quarantine area as well as into areas that are not under quarantine.
Remember to look before you leave.
Inspect your cars, inspect your RVs, inspect your trailers, inspect any items that you may be moving and please teach other people to do this as well.
Again, please don't move eggs on woody debris.
Leave wood on site or chip it and compost according to directions.
There is another fact sheet available at the extension website that gives tips for handling yard waste in the quarantine areas.
Use the PDA's checklist if you are moving items from the quarantine.
This is actually a legal document and by using it you will be in compliance with the quarantine order.
That is, you will have demonstrated your knowledge about spotted lanternfly and show that you have been able to inspect your materials to ensure that they are free of spotted lanternfly and its egg masses.
Again, this is another document that can be found on PDA's website or the Extension website for more information on spotted lanternfly.
To report spotted lanternfly call 1-866-253-7189 if you are outside the quarantine area or you can easily do it by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information it's very easy to find additional details on spotted lanternfly, you can just Google spotted lanternfly PDA or spotted lanternfly Penn State Extension.
Thank you, I hope you've learned something about spotted lanternfly today and are prepared to try management of control options throughout the year.
Frequently Asked Questions