Home & Garden
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 April 2020 22:57
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture reported the first confirmed Spotted Lanternfly hatch of the year.
The first-instar nymph was located by a USDA employee recently in the University City section of western Philadelphia, near the University of Pennsylvania/Drexel University.
“Let’s use this time at home to make a positive impact on Spotted Lanternfly this season; scrape and destroy any remaining egg masses you find and band your trees now,” said Agriculture Secretary Redding. “We need every Pennsylvanian to keep their eyes peeled for this bad bug, we can’t let our guard down.”
The majority of Spotted Lanternfly hatches begin in southern Pennsylvania in mid to late April and with a lag in timing for Pennsylvania’s more northern counties. As the first instars of Spotted Lanternfly hatch from eggs, they instantly seek tender plant tissue to feed.
The Spotted Lanternfly is capable of decimating entire grape vineyards and damaging fruit orchards, hops, walnuts, hardwoods and decorative trees. In addition to endangering agriculture, this bad bug threatens our ability to enjoy the outdoors during spring and summer months – they’re known to swarm in the air, cover trees, and coat decks and play equipment with their excrement, known as honeydew. Honeydew, along with sap from weeping plant wounds that result from feeding of Spotted Lanternfly, can attract bees and other insects and also stimulate the growth of fungi.
Scraping egg masses is the most efficient way to kill 30-50 of the invasive pests at once. If you discover Spotted Lanternfly egg masses, scrape them off, using a putty knife, credit card, or other firm, blunt edged tool. Penn State Extension has a helpful tutorial on how to destroy egg masses. During the nymph stage, tree banding is the most effective method to capture and kill Spotted Lanternfly. It’s a non-toxic, inexpensive technique that can be used on any tree.
If you scrape an egg mass or squash a Spotted Lanternfly, always report your sighting. Sightings can be reported online or via phone by calling 1-888-4BAD-FLY. For more information on Spotted Lanternfly, visit www.agriculture.pa.gov/spottedlanternfly.