If you see a spotted lanternfly an invasive species native to Asia that has spread to 14 counties in Pennsylvania since 2014 dont call the police. Its not something they can do anything about.
Kill it. Squash it, smash it. Just get rid of it, advises the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. These are called bad bugs for a reason. Dont let them take over your county next.
After youve dispatched the insect, you can report its presence online or by calling 1-888-4BADFLY.
The agency explains, The spotted lanternfly causes serious damage in trees, including oozing sap, wilting, leaf curling and tree dieback.
In addition to tree damage, when spotted lanternflies feed, they excrete a sugary substance, called honeydew, that encourages the growth of black sooty mold, which is harmless to people but causes damage to plants.
And, in counties infested and quarantined for the insect, residents report hundreds of the insects that affect their quality of life and ability to enjoy the outdoors during the spring and summer months. Spotted Lanternflies will cover trees, swarm in the air, and their honeydew can coat decks and play equipment.
After being discovered in Berks County in 2014, the insect has spread to 14 Pennsylvania counties, which are now under quarantine. Those counties are Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia and Schuylkill.
Infestations of the insect also have been found in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Virginia.
Spotted lanternflies are beginning to lay their eggs in masses of 30-50 eggs each, according to the department. They will continue through late November or early December.
The egg masses, which look like gray or tan, unevenly spread, smears of mortar or clay, will be deposited on any smooth trunked tree, stone or other flat smooth surface, including vehicles, campers, yard furniture, farm equipment or any other items stored outside.
The non-native, invasive spotted lanternfly passes through four stages of nymph development before becoming the winged adult.
In addition to killing all winged adults, the department encourages the destruction of every egg mass that is spotted. Simply scrape them off, double bag them and throw them in the garbage, or place them in alcohol or hand sanitizer.
Successful scrapings can be reported online.
Penn State Extension has developed additional instructions for homeowners wanting to attack their own spotted lanternfly problems. They advise the following.
Wrap tree trunks that the insects are climbing with sticky tape, which is available online and from local garden centers. Banding is most effective against nymphs in the spring, but homeowners have had success in trapping adults as well.
But sticky tape has trapped birds and small mammals as well. That can be avoided by caging the sticky tape with wire or fencing material wrapped around the tree.
Remove tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima), a non-native, invasive plant common in landscape plantings and disturbed areas, such as along the sides of roads. Its a preferred host plant of the spotted lanternfly.
Attack the insects with pesticides. The extension website advises, Only use insecticides that are registered by the Environmental Protection Agency to treat any insect on your property. All EPA-registered insecticides have an EPA registration number and a label for appropriate and legal use. Home remedies should not be used against spotted lanternfly because they may be unsafe to humans, pets and plants, and could be illegal.
The extension website discusses a range of pesticides, including some natural materials.
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