We’ve all heard about them, read about them, had the misfortune of seeing them or stepping on them. Yup, lanternflies—plant-hopping insects native to China, Vietnam, and east Asia—are taking over Pennsylvania. They’ve been invading since 2014 and are now officially established in Berks and Lehigh Counties. They’re nasty buggers that feed on woody plants, stunting their growth and even eventually killing them. They present a serious threat to our industries of grapes, fruit trees, and logging. [Those of you that enjoy wine should especially care since we need grapes to make wine.]
Now, taking down an invasive species isn’t something the average person can really do, but we can all do something to help stop the spread of lanternflies in our area. Since A.B.E. Doors and Windows services much of the Lehigh Valley, we have now started checking our vehicles to the best of our abilities when we move between job sites to make sure we’re not transporting any lanternflies or eggs. Eggs and flies alike can be crushed and eliminated.
This is something you can do at home as well, especially now that it’s the season of yard work. As you’re bringing out patio furniture or starting to grill again, check these items for deposits of eggs which can contain between thirty and fifty lanternflies. Egg deposits can be scraped off and destroyed in quite a few ways [with alcohol for one].
While you’re working on your yard, also keep your eyes peeled for the ‘Tree of Heaven’ or Chinese sumac. It’s the lanternfly’s preferred tree to eat and lay eggs on. You can use these trees to set a trap for the lanternfly if you are so inclined by spraying it with systemic pesticides through the months of June to August.
There is good news though. One of the funguses native to Pennsylvania has been found to prey on the lanternfly, but we’re all going to need to pitch in if we want to try to get rid of these bad bugs once and for all. So, when you see those lanternflies, happy stomping from all of us here at A.B.E. Doors and Windows!