Hetrick Gardens Blog
Our local neighborhoods are now included in the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's quarantine to restrict the movement of the destructive Spotted Lanternfly which has taken up residence and expanded its home in our area since late in 2014.
The Spotted Lanternfly is native to Asia and is known to invade at least 25 species of trees found in Pennsylvania. There is a significant threat to our hardwood, apple, grape, and stone fruit trees from this pest.
Our cold winters kill adult Spotted Lanternfly, but the egg masses laid on smooth bark, stone, and other surfaces from late September through early December survive. Now is the time to look for the egg masses and help eliminate them before they hatch. Follow this link to learn how to destroy egg masses: http://extension.psu.edu/pests/spotted-lanternfly/news/2017/how-to-destroy-spotted-lanternfly-eggs-and-report-your-efforts .
Beginning in May, the Spotted Lanternfly nymph will appear as a tiny, black with white spots, wingless insect crawling on woody and non-woody plants to feed. As they grow larger, the nymphs will appear more red with black and white spots and black legs. The adult Spotted Lanternfly is usually developed around mid-July and can be seen on the bark of smooth trees, often in clusters. The Tree-of-Heaven/Paradise Tree which is common in our area is a favorite tree for adults to feed on and lay their egg masses. Adults have a black head and grayish wings with black spots. When disturbed the adults will jump or fly and expose hind wings that are red with black spots and white and black striped with black spots. Though you may find the adult Spotted Lanternfly beautiful, it is important to capture and kill these pests before they lay eggs.
Aside from observing the insect on trees, weeping wounds of sap can be observed on the trunks of afflicted trees and may collect at the base of the trunk. This sap will attract wasps, hornets, bees, and ants. The Tree-of-Heaven/Paradise Tree is a favorite of the Spotted Lanternfly, but adults also feed on fruit trees, willows, maples, poplars, tulip poplars, birch, ash, and others.
For more information, pictures, up-to-date quarantine maps, and ways to help eliminate this invasive pest, please visit the Penn State extension, http://extension.psu.edu/pests/spotted-lanternfly or the PA Department of Agriculture website.