Where did all the Spotted Lanternflies go? How to Help Stop the Spread in the Winter Months The Lanternfly has only one life cycle per year. They hatch from eggs starting in April and continue to grow until they have reached adulthood sometime around August. These new adults lay their eggs starting in September and continue laying until they die in December. Most of the Spotted Lanternfly adults that you saw in the earlier fall months are killed off from the frost, but there eggs are lingering in your yard. You can help slow the hatch of spotted lanternflies in the spring by destroying their egg masses in the winter and early spring months.
What do egg masses look like? Spotted lanternflies lay their eggs in the fall. Egg masses contain between 30-50 eggs and can be laid on many different objects including tree trunks, lawn furniture, cement blocks, telephone poles, and other hard surfaces. Freshly laid egg masses are white and look like unevenly spread mortar or putty. As they age, they will turn light tan or gray and start cracking. After the eggs hatch, you will find emergence holes on the masses where the nymphs crawled out. Be careful not to confuse lichens with spotted lanternfly egg masses. Lichens are mossy-looking light green or white colored simple organisms that grow on tree bark.
Figure 2: Fresh Egg Mass
3: Top egg mass is older and has emergence holes from where the lanternfly has already hatched. Bottom is an egg mass that has not yet hatched, but has started to crack.
Figure 4: Older Egg Mass
5: Lichen on tree bark
What to do if you find egg masses? If you find egg masses, scrape them off using an old gift card or a putty knife. It is best to scrape the mass into a closed container filled with rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer. If you see a mass when you are not carrying a scraping implement with you, do your best to smash the eggs. You will be able to hear them pop and juice will ooze out if you did a good job. If you do not apply enough pressure, the eggs will still be viable. View this video for more detailed instruction: https://extension.psu.edu/how-to-remove-spotted-lanternfly-eggs. Eggs are just as likely to pose risk of hitchhiking as adults, so be careful to inspect anything moving from an area that has been infested before taking it to the new location. If you see an adult or eggs, please call the Monroe County Conservation District to report a sighting! Remember to take a picture and then please; SQUASH, STAMP, or SCRAPE the insect/eggs away! If you are traveling anywhere outside of the county or within the quarantine zone remember to check your vehicle and always Look Before You Leave.
Are there any chemicals that I can use on the egg masses? Although spotted lanternflies appear to be affected by insecticides, residents should choose the least toxic management methods before resorting to chemical use. A few spotted lanternflies feeding on well developed, healthy landscape trees are considered unlikely to cause permanent damage. Consider using trapping or squishing methods before turning to toxic chemicals. Typical home remedies, like dawn dish soap, can cause ecological damage and/or be harmful to human and pet health. It is hard to deliver the insecticide to the pest during much of its lifecycle. Insecticides are most effective when used around mid-July, when the late instars and adults are attempting to find their host trees. Applying insecticides to the eggs will not be as highly effective as it would be during other times of the year.
Whenever using chemical control methods consider the following:
Consider non-chemical control mechanisms for whatever pest you are dealing with before resorting to chemical controls.
It is important to make sure that you are using chemicals that are registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Use the correct amount of pesticide that is indicated on the product label
Read the product label and follow the directions carefully
Be careful to avoid areas important to our pollinators (flowering plants) and water resources (near streams, wetlands, etc.)
Make sure that you are keeping yourself safe by wearing clean protective clothing and washing your hands.
Consider hiring a professional applicator who is trained and has specialized equipment when taking the chemical control route.
Figure 6: Scraping into bag method
Search your property for Tree of Heaven Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) is the Spotted Lanternfly’s preferred host tree. A host tree is a target tree that provides the insect with nourishment and support during all, or some, of its life stages. Tree of heaven is also an invasive that came to our continent from Asia. The tree of heaven has rapid growth and can reach a height of 80 ft. with a 6 ft. diameter. The bark resembles cantaloupe skin. The tree has a distinct smell, that some compare to peanut butter that can be noticed when snapping off a twig or branch. The tree typically grows in dense colonies and reproduces through both seed and through root suckers. Root suckers can emerge up to 50 ft. away from the parent tree. Getting rid of Tree of Heaven is not as easy as just cutting it down due to its ability to produce root suckers. Hand pulling root suckers when possible works to help prevent the spread of the tree. The best way to completely rid an area of Tree of Heaven is to target the roots with a systemic herbicide in mid to late summer. During the winter months, a good use of your time would be to check your property for any existing populations. Look at the references listed at the bottom of this page for a tree ID guide and more information.
7: Tree of Heaven bark
Monroe County is in a Quarantine Zone, What does that mean? The Spotted Lanternfly came to Pennsylvania, specifically Berks County, in 2014. Since then, the Lanternfly has spread to 14 counties in PA spanning from Lancaster to Monroe. These counties are in a “Quarantine Zone” requiring businesses to monitor anything being exported from or within these counties. As the insect moves into new counties, the area of quarantine will expand and change. The most recent map can be found online here.
Here is how the quarantine may affect you…
Business Owners and Managers
All businesses should get a permit issued through PDA. A permit shows that you have been through proper training and know how to follow the rules of the quarantine. To obtain a permit, sign up for the free online course at extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly-permit-training
Business owners and managers should keep record of training, shipping, vehicle inspections, and other SLF control measures for a minimum for 2 years. The person preforming these measures must be identified. There is no required template, but this documentation is a requirement.
Any business that engages with mulch production or logging must enter compliance with PDA and inspect any truck or trailer being used. Contact our area’s Bureau of Plant Industry supervisor, Richard J. Malak at firstname.lastname@example.org
Any entity that sells plants should have them inspected by PDA to receive a phytosanitary certificate. If you have a Nursery/Greenhouse License or a Nursery’s Dealer License you should already be covered. A plant inspector will check your plants.
Avoid parking vehicles or storing materials under or around trees and tree lines.
Report any sightings of Spotted Lanternflies on PDA’s Spotted Lanternfly Reporting Tool and call the District to report your sighting
These insects do not present any issue to humans, as the don’t bite or sting, but they can be very damaging to the agriculture industry. Thank you for doing your part to help stop the spread of this invasive insect. If you have any questions or concerns, please call our office. Look out for future workshops that will be held by our district on spotted lanternfly control.