How to Find & Identify the Spotted Lanternfly

Among Pennsylvania’s long list of pests and invasive species, one of the most recent is the Spotted Lanternfly. Indigenous to China, Vietnam, and India, the Spotted Lanternfly was first observed in Berks County, Pennsylvania in September 2014, and is thought to have been introduced by accident.

For the past four years, a space of 6,900 sq.miles where the insect is found has been under quarantine, largely because of the severe damage the Spotted Lanternfly is capable of doing to local trees. Having no natural predators in its new environment, Spotted Lanternflies feed on the sap within both woody and non-woody plants and can, therefore, do tremendous damage to hardwoods, fruit trees, timber, and ornamental plants including varieties such as ashes, tulips, sassafras, cherries, and pears.

How to Find the Spotted Lanternfly

Adult Spotted Lanternflies possess black heads and gray bodies with black stripes, as in the picture shown here, and often have the appearance of glowing red. The most efficient method of eliminating them is to disrupt their favorite food source, which in the late summer and fall is the Ailanthus altissima, commonly known as the “Tree of Heaven” or Chinese sumac. Though they feed on other plants as well, Ailanthus altissima is their favored host this time of year.

To learn how to identify the Ailanthus altissima, watch this quick informational video from All The Above Tree Service, your source for tree care services in Langhorne:

What to do Next

If you discover just a few Spotted Lanternflies at a time, you can easily eliminate them by swatting or crushing them. However, insecticides will be necessary for larger populations; two kinds of which are widely available. There are contact insecticides, which will kill Spotted Lanternflies when the chemical contacts the insect directly. In contrast, systemic insecticides are absorbed into trees, killing the insects that feed on them. All insecticides must be used as directed on the label. Take the time to read the instructions of any products carefully and to follow the directions provided.

For safety and legal reasons, do not attempt to use home remedies in place of tested and approved insecticides.

Are you seeking the best in tree care services in Churchville and other nearby Pennsylvania communities? To reach the team here at All The Above Tree Service, contact us online or call 215-596-4401 today!

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