Lanternfly Invasion

A bizarre pest from Asia is in Pennsylvania and if you haven’t already seen it, you soon will be. This insect is spreading fast and putting billions of dollars’ worth of resources at risk — maybe even your livelihood.

This insect, known as the Spotted Lanternfly has been spotted in Lancaster County and is threatening the agriculture and forestry industry. It has a really broad feeding behavior unusual for most insects. It prefers to feed on ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven) – an invasive species, however also has an appetite for grapes, apples, peaches, plums, hops, birches, oaks, pines, and possibly more. Lanternflies don’t eat the plants, but rather suck nutrient-rich sap from the trunks through their proboscides then excrete a sticky substance after dining.

In late fall, adults will lay egg masses on host trees and nearby smooth surfaces like stone, outdoor furniture, vehicles, and structures. Newly laid egg masses have a grey mud-like covering which can take on a dry cracked appearance over time. Old egg masses appear as rows of 30-50 brownish seed-like deposits in 4-7 columns on the trunk, roughly an inch long.

If you see egg masses, carefully scrape them off using a credit card or similar object so they don’t scatter, double bag them and throw them away. You can also place the eggs into alcohol or hand sanitizer to kill them. Please report sightings of egg masses, nymphs, or adult spotted lanternfly using this tool provided by our partners Penn State Extension OR call the Automated Invasive Species Report Line at 1-888-4BAD-FLY and leave a message detailing your sighting and contact information.

To read the entire article, click here or visit https://penntwplanco.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Lanternfly.pdf.

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