By now we’re sure you’ve heard talk about the spotted lanternfly infestation in our area. We’d like to provide a bit of information about what they are, why it’s important to stop their spread throughout our region, and why you must contact Willow Tree and Landscape Services immediately if you spot an egg mass.
What Is The Spotted Lanternfly?
The spotted lanternfly is an invasive insect native to certain parts of Southeast Asia, which has begun to thrive and spread across Southeastern Pennsylvania ever since it was first discovered in 2014.
The insect goes through five stages in its life cycle after hatching. Freshly hatched lanternflies are called nymphs, and can be identified as small black bugs about the size of a pencil eraser, with white spots on its back. As they grow, their color shifts from black to a vibrant red with patches of black and white. An adult lanternfly can be identified by its spotted wings and red underwing.
Why Are They A Threat?
Since it was first discovered in Berks County in 2014, it has spread throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania. It poses a serious threat to certain areas of Pennsylvania forestry and agriculture, which make up nearly $18 billion of the state’s economy.
Spotted lanternflies feeds on a variety of plants, including several crops such as grapes, apples, walnuts, hops, and other hardwood trees. They are a destructive insect, and are known to reduce crop production wherever they are found.
While the insects hatch in early spring and thrive throughout the warmer months, they will begin to breed and lay eggs from September to December. The egg masses lie dormant throughout the winter, and will begin to hatch in April. This is why it is important to keep an eye out for egg masses on trees and other outdoor surfaces.
What Should I Do If I See A Spotted Lanternfly Or An Egg Mass
First of all, if you see a spotted lanternfly, it is important to eliminate it. If possible, catch it in a container and fill it with alcohol such as rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer. This will kill the insect and preserve it. If you are unable to catch the bug, kill it in any way possible. Once the insect is dead, take a photograph and report your sighting to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture/Penn State Extension.
Egg masses can be attached to any outdoor surface where a spotted lanternfly may have landed. Look on trees, bicycles, campers, mobile homes, boxes, firewood, outdoor tanks, playground equipment, tarps, fences, cars, and anything else that has been sitting outdoors.
If you see a single egg mass, use a knife or plastic card to scrape the entire egg mass off of the surface. Be sure not to leave any of the mass behind. Place the egg mass in a bag filled with alcohol to kill the eggs. Report your find to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture/Penn State Extension.
Once your find has been reported, contact Willow Tree and Landscape Services. Our team will immediately travel to your home to treat your property for egg masses and spotted lanternflies. If you see one egg mass, chances are there are others on your property where you might not have noticed.
For more information on the spotted lanternfly, please visit the Penn State Extension.
It is imperative that the spread of the spotted lanternfly be stopped. We can help. Contact Willow Tree and Landscape Services to discuss our pest treatment services.