This area’s newest pest is becoming a serious issue for many businesses and homeowners. While most people can recognize the adult stage, it is actually the nymph stage that does most of the damage to ornamental landscapes as well as orchards and vineyards. These insects have piercing sucking mouthparts which feed on sap running through a plant’s vascular system. This then weakens the tree or shrub to a point that encourages other pests and disease to overcome the plant and accelerate decay.
Luckily, early detection and control attempts are proving successful. In 2019 Thur-O Pest launched an aggressive seasonal control program that proved very effective in the control of this invasive pest. There are over 70 species of trees that SLF infects, but we have found in our immediate area most of the affected trees are Maple, Birch, Willow, and Ailanthus. In an effort to minimize overspray, we generally will attempt to target these particular species, but routinely inspecting other species to determine the extent of treatment.
We recommend a six-month control program targeting every life stage of the spotted lanternfly:
May– identify affected trees on property, including tree lines bordering property, and remove and destroy all visible egg masses
June, July– monthly foliar/trunk spray applications to control nymph activity of trees and shrubs. If any trees or shrubs are in flower on the day of service, we will not treat them in an effort to protect our honeybees and other pollinating insects.
August, September, October– monthly bark, trunk spray applications to trees and shrubs to minimize adult populations and curtail egg laying.
For more information on what to look for, please visit https://extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly