Noticed Lanternflies Are About To Hatch. Be taught How To Make A Lure For This Invasive Insect


In 2014, the spotted lantern fly, an invasive insect native to Asia, was first seen in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Since then, it has spread across the state along traffic corridors westward. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s spotted lantern fly quarantine zone now extends to 34 counties, including Allegheny, Westmoreland, and Cambria.

There are strict regulations in quarantine districts aimed at stopping the invasive pest from spreading westward or even between communities within a district. Companies that move regulated products or vehicles in and out of quarantine areas require a permit. Residents should examine some items for each stage of the spotted lantern fly’s life cycle before moving it, such as RVs, lawn furniture, and landscaping materials.

Look what
Emelie Swackhamer, a horticultural educator with Penn State Extension in Montgomery County, said female spotted lanterns lay their eggs on any solid surface, from trees to picnic tables. In the fall, the eggs are laid in rows.

“The egg masses are about an inch long and maybe half an inch wide,” said Swachhamer. “There are an average of around 35 eggs per egg mass.”

The female secretes a substance through the eggs that dries to look like mud with a cracked surface. The egg masses overwinter and hatch around May 1st and begin to mature as nymphs.

Set up a trap
At this stage, spotted lantern flies are prone to a certain type of trap that takes advantage of their urge to climb trees to feed on the leaves.

“The trap wraps around the log and has a kind of skirt that is open,” explained Swackhamer. “The lantern flies can climb up the trunk and get into the bordered area, which leads them into a funnel structure. They end up in this collecting container and don’t know how to get out. “

They just wander around the collection bin until they die, she said, and you can use these circular traps to catch thousands of spotted lantern flies that were used to collect insects with climbing behavior similar to pecan beetles.

You can order a trap online or follow Swackhamer’s step-by-step instructions to make your own circular traps from materials you may have at home, such as insect nets and plastic milk jugs.

Circle traps are a better choice for catching spotted lantern fly nymphs than commonly used tape, Suckheamer said, as these can potentially trap other animals like bees, birds, and squirrels.

As for the tree to try out a circular trap on your property, Swackhamer said spotted lantern flies prefer a different invasive sky tree. The black walnut also seems to be a favorite of the nymphs. Maple, willow, or birch are other types that they like.


Emelie Swackhamer

A DIY circular trap attached to a tree.

Swackhamer said circle traps will not stop the spotted lantern flies from getting to your trees, and there is still no evidence that they will protect the trees from damage. But there is one way to solve the problem.

The insects devastate trees, vines, and crops, and many eastern Pennsylvania residents are fed up with the sticky dirt they excrete when they feed them.

Swackhamer said there are other ways to kill the pests. Egg masses can be scraped into a container with alcohol. They can also be crushed, although the adults will be harder to kill that way because the red-brown winged insects will jump. Low toxicity insecticides are also effective, Swackhamer said, but you need to know what to look out for

“The key to all of this is identification and just observation,” said Swackhamer.

Read more from our partners The Allegheny Front.