Spotted Lanternfly has Landed in PA and Homeowners Need to be Aware of these Troublesome Insects

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Spotted Lanternfly are a new insect invading PA, and homeowners need to be aware of what to look for. The experts at Giroud Tree & Lawn show how to spot the insect, why they're more than just a nuisance pest, and the best pest control options.

Spotted Lanternfly

Spotted Lanternfly

We are fully prepared to combat the Spotted Lanternfly. We are prepped and ready to treat these trees. The challenge is making the community aware of the problem.

The Spotted Lanternfly is a new pest that has invaded Pennsylvania. These beautiful but nasty bugs are swarming the state in concerning numbers. First spotted in 2014, Penn State's Agriculture Extension has been monitoring the Spotted Lanternfly and issuing warnings about this invasive insect. They're a problem for local farmers who are losing fruit and timber crops to the insects' voracious appetite. However, homeowners are also seeing impacts that range from annoying to significant damage. The experts at Giroud Tree & Lawn show how to spot the Spotted Lanternfly, why they're more than just a nuisance pest, and how Homeowners can help in the fight against these insects.

Spotted Lanternfly are attracted to Tree of Life

The Spotted Lanternfly feeds primarily on the Tree of Heaven, which is common throughout the region. Unfortunately, these flies also swarm many other types of trees, including Black Walnuts, Maples, Apples, Willows, and many more. According to the PA Department of Agriculture, they attack more than 70 species of trees, and 25 of them are found in Pennsylvania.

At this point, it's hard to determine the long term damage to trees. Emeilie Swackhamer, Penn State Horticulture Director, has been following the Spotted Lanternfly and monitoring infested trees for 3 years. Swackhamer explains that while it's still too early to say what the long-term effects will be, the insects are definitely causing significant die-back and defoliating branches in trees. However, there are other concerns homeonwers should be aware of.

How Spotted Lanternfly Causes Property Damage

These insects eat tree sap and then excrete droppings of a sweet, sticky substance called Honeydew. The honeydew will coat the tree, the base of the tree, and anything underneath the tree, including cars, hardscapes and decking. Then, black, sooty mold grows on the secreted substance. The combination of honeydew and black, sooty mold has an unpleasantly sour stench and is very difficult to remove from surfaces.

How the Spotted Lanternfly Attracts Dangerous Insects

Even more unsettling, the secreted honeydew attracts stinging wasps! Wasps can't resist the tantalizing smell of the honeydew, and they will swarm trees for a taste. Homeowners are struggling to rid yards of stinging wasps, and it's particularly a problem for children playing in the area!

Knowing How to Identify the Spotted Lanterfly

One of the things that makes this insect difficult to control is the fact that it goes through several identities during it's life cycle. Adult females lay eggs in the fall, and they go to great lengths to cover the egg masses in a secretion that dries hard and camouflages to look like dirt or clay. The young nymphs that emerge from the eggs in spring are black with white spots. In early summer, they gain red markings on their bodies. Then, midsummer they become adults and shed their skin to form wings on their backs.

These wings are their true tell tale, with bright red markings on a background of black, white and beige patterns. However, when the adults are at rest or feeding on tree sap, their signature red marks are hidden underneath their folded wings making them more difficult to identify.

How Homeowners Can Help Stop the Spread of Spotted Lanternfly

It is going to take a statewide effort to combat the spread of this insect. Awareness is the first step!

“We are fully prepared to combat the Spotted Lanternfly,” says Matt Giroud, Director of Field Operations at Giroud Tree & Lawn. “We are prepped and ready to treat these trees. The challenge is making the community aware of the problem.”

Homeowners and PA residents can all take the following precautions to keep Spotted Lanternfly from taking over:

-Destroy any eggs and coated egg masses. One female Spotted Lanternfly can lay up to 100 eggs! These eggs and egg masses can easily be scraped off of surfaces and put into a bag with rubbing alcohol to kill them.
-Always check benches, stones, firewood, and anything else before moving them. Spotted Lanterfly will lay eggs on any smooth surface, particularly the undersides where the egg masses are better protected from predators. Scrape off any suspicious masses and destroy them so as not to inadvertently relocate and spread the insect population.
-Look for eggs, egg masses, honeydew secretions, black, sooty mold and swarms of wasps.
-Have an ISA Certified Arborist check trees for any signs of Spotted Lanternfly

About Giroud Tree and Lawn
Giroud Tree and Lawn specializes in tree service, lawn care and mosquito and tick control programs that make customers love doing business with the company since 1974. Serving Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties, the company offers professional tree and lawn evaluation, tree pruning, tree removal, insect and disease control, fertilizing, stump removal, traditional and 100% organic lawn programs and mosquito and tick control. Giroud Arborists are certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and have the knowledge and experience required to properly diagnose, treat and maintain trees and lawn health. The company is Accredited by the Tree Care Industry Association and Better Business Bureau. Giroud has also been awarded the Angie's List Super Service Award® every year since 2005. The “Giroud Treework for Charity” program donates free tree care services to parks, historical sites and other non-profit organizations located in the Company’s service area. For more information, visit the company website at or call 215-682-7704.

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Cindy Giroud
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