Spotted lanternfly (SLF) is an invasive insect that has spread throughout Pennsylvania since its discovery in Berks County in 2014. SLF feeds on the plant sap of many different plants including grapevines, maples, black walnut, and other important plants in PA. If not contained, spotted lanternfly could potentially drain Pennsylvania’s economy of at least $324 million annually, according to a study carried out by economists at Penn State. The spotted lanternfly uses its piercing-sucking mouthpart to feed on sap from over 70 different plant species. It has a strong preference for economically important plants including grapevines, maple trees, black walnut, birch, willow, and other trees. The feeding damage significantly stresses the plants which can lead to decreased health and potentially death. As SLF feeds, the insect excretes honeydew (a sugary substance) which can attract bees, wasps, and other insects. The honeydew also builds up and promotes the growth for sooty mold (fungi), which can cover the plant, forest understories, patio furniture, cars, and anything else found below SLF feeding. (PennState Ext.)
What we are doing in our Parks
Although "sticky traps" are commonly used as effective ways to catch SLF, they also have the risk of bycatch, meaning it does not exclusively trap SLF. These sticky traps can harm beneficial insects, butterflies, moths, birds, tree-climbing amphibians and snakes.
We are using circle traps, Penn State's latest recommendation. Click here for a step-by-step instruction sheet. We are starting to put these up in our Parks and have seen great results!