Here's what you need to know, and what you can do about the Spotted Lanternfly.

We all need to be aware of this invasive pest as it threatens our apple, plum, cherry, peach, apricot, grape, pine trees and many others.
Infestation Update - Spotted Lanternfly
compiled by Rob Wisnewski, Shearon Superintendent #shearonwestchester
Through 2018, we have seen Spotted Lanternfly (SL) creep closer and closer to our customers’ properties.  The quarantine in effect has helped to slow their progress by restricting the movement of plant material and even non-organic materials that may carry egg masses or adults to non-infested areas. Nonetheless, it has made it here.
The SL came from Asia to eastern PA in 2014. It has abstract and bright colors that vary from black and white as young nymphs to the adult that is blue and black with some red. They are also much larger than other species of domestic planthoppers, up to an inch and a half long and a half inch wide. When found on trees and shrubs, they tend to congregate into large groups. They do not cause damage by eating the leaves or stems as one would assume. They are a “sap sucker” as in they pierce the plant and suck out the sap. This has the effect of starving the plant of water and nutrients. Signs that a tree is infested by SL is that sap will be extruding from open wounds on the plant. This sap, called honeydew, is brown or black and attracts other insects such as bees and ants.
 SL have one life cycle per year. In late September they begin to lay eggs. Any smooth vertical surface, including trees, rocks and house siding are probable egg laying sites. As the eggs hatch and become nymphs, they are voracious eaters. Their palate is very broad and they eat almost everything. Though they have a very wide range of hosts to feed on, they prefer only one to reproduce on. The Tree of Heaven ( Ailanthus altissima) itself an intrusive species, is need for the SF to reproduce. These trees or sometimes low growing shrubs are very prolific in our region of PA. They are very common on wood lines and roadways.
Below: The Tree of Heaven
( Ailanthus altissima)
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has been very active in researching and implementing management strategies to try to reduce the SL population in PA. Since this is a very new problem, the research is ongoing.
               Shearon has been following along since the problem's inception, knowing that we would be affected at some point. There are a few control strategies that Shearon is looking to implement to control SL and as new strategies come out, we will evaluate and implement any that we feel will give satisfactory results.
Control Strategies
1.         The quarantine- At this time there are 13 counties in PA that are under an active quarantine. This restricts movement of plant material and many other materials that may transport eggs or any stage of SL to a non-infested area. Philadelphia, Chester, and Montgomery are all under quarantine at this time and we expect the list to grow well past the current 13.
2.         Egg Masses – The egg masses look like peanut butter smeared on a tree. It may be on the side of a home, a car, a fence post or any smooth vertical structure. One of the main control strategies is scraping egg masses and destroying them. Most important is that the egg masses are destroyed. If burning is legal in your township, that is one option or double bagging the egg masses and putting them in the garbage.
3.         Bait Trees – As mentioned above, the Tree of Heaven is crucial to their reproduction. By reducing the amount of Tree of Heaven and then treating a few remaining specimens with a systemic insecticide, there have been satisfactory results in that many SL were eradicated.
4.         Sticky Tape – This, again, takes advantage of the Tree of Heaven being important to their reproduction. By putting sticky tape on Tree of Heaven, or even other infested trees you encounter, you can capture and destroy SLF. 
Scrape egg masses into container
of rubbing alcohol to destroy
before discarding.

Welcome, Fall!