What kills Spotted Lanternflies?

What kills spotted lanternfly

The spotted lanternfly is a pest that arrived in the USA in 2014 from Asia. As the spotted lanternflies do not have the natural predators in the wild, we must take action quickly. Learn how to eliminate spotted lanternflies by keeping reading.

What is a Spotted Lanternfly?

A serious threat to agriculture, spotted lanternflies are bad bugs that pester plants in some parts of Asia and the United States. Since they feed on economically important plants, they cause a huge deal of trouble in the area of farming and agriculture. These destructive insects are also known as planthoppers or lanternmoth. Given its name, a spotted lanternfly displays black spots on its red-patched wings. Ironically, they prefer hopping rather than flying despite their given wings.

How can you identify a spotted lanternfly?

How can you identify a spotted lanternfly

To begin, double-check that the eggs or pests you observe are the spotted lanternflies. In the fall, they deposit the eggs on the hard surfaces such as trees, rocks, homes, and other areas. According to the some research, their eggs are covered by a waxy coating that dries to look like the mud. Each time they can lay about 30-50 eggs.

The pests have four nymph phases after the eggs hatch, according to the study. They are 1/2 inch or smaller at first, and then they are black with white spots, red with black stripes, and white dots. The adult lanternflies are an inch or bigger and emerge in July. Their bodies are black, and their wings are gray with black markings. Their wings are black in color, with gray veins going through them. When they are opening then wings, you will see a vivid crimson underwing. They leap more than they fly, and they stay active until the winter is coming.

Life Cycle

After knowing the life cycle of the spotted lanternfly, it will help you prevent and control the issues. Late in the spring, their eggs hatch. It normally occurs in May, though it can sometimes occur in the late April. As they progress through their four stages, the nymphs resume the pattern of moving up and down host trees. They’ll climb trees to eat, fall by the rain or wind, and then climb back. The nymphs will mature into adults in mid-summer, around July. In late summer and early fall, the adult lanternflies will mate, and then the females will deposit the eggs. And the adult lanternflies will die in the late fall, while the next generation can overwinter as the eggs.

Is it possible for Spotted Lanternflies to harm trees?

While the lanternflies have the potential to harm a tree, the odds are that the tree will survive if you take action quickly.

They will leave a trail of blackened honeydew mold and a number of open sores gushing with tree sap all over the tree.

However, if you do not let the lanternflies devour the tree uncontrollably for a too long time, the tree will be able to recover the damage. And the tree may be killed if you let them consume it or if it has been neglected and is already in poor condition. As a result, be careful to respond swiftly.

Where Do Spotted Lanternflies Go at Night?

Spotted Lanternflies usually go into hiding down the ground at night. If you are down to see one, the best time would be at dusk when they start to be on the move and get busy with life. They usually nestle together at the base of a tree during the day. 

What Do Spotted Lanternflies Eat?

Plants, especially commercial ones, are tasty treats for spotted lanternflies. Walnuts, grapevines, apples, and stonefruit trees are just among their favorites. But this not all there is.

Spotted lanternflies bring nightmares not just to homeowners but to farmers as well because they don’t just eat the plants. They damage them a huge deal. Using their straw-like mouth, they suck sap from the stem, leaves, and trunk. Of course, a swarm of spotted lanternflies feeding on a plant or a single tree can hurt its life. Any living thing stripped of its nutrients will eventually weaken. 

What’s worse is these spotted lanternflies get more than what they can take, hence the excretion of “honeydew.” Ants, bees, butterflies, and the like are attracted to this honeydew. And now, the plant or the tree is not only dealing with spotted lanternflies but with other pests and insects, too. It also attracts the formation of mold, which then brings more damages to the plant. 

What Trees Do They Damage?

What Trees Do They Damage

There is a long list of trees that a spotted lanternfly can host on, but it will always have its eye on the tree of heaven. Fruit trees are among its favorite, too. Apple, plum, grape, cherry, peach, pine trees are all potential victims of these pests. Birch trees, Willow trees, Maple trees, Oak trees, Sweetgum trees, and Sycamore trees will not be safe from spotted lanternflies, too. 

What Temperature Kills Spotted Lanternflies?

You may probably be thinking that the brutal cold in winter can give you a hand in getting rid of these invasive pests. Yes, cold temperatures can kill adult spotted lanternflies, but don’t rejoice just yet. Spotted lanternfly eggs can survive the harsh winter and will happily hatch their way out in spring. These winter survivors will grow into destructive spotted lanternflies, and the cycle goes again.

What Bug Kills Spotted Lanternfly?

Well, good news because there are heroes out there that can kill these fierce villains. Spiders, stinging insects, and praying mantis are all enemies of spotted lanternflies. Thanks to its efficient spider web, a spider can easily capture a spotted lanternfly.  

The praying mantis is one of the most helpful insects to kill a spotted lanternfly. Not only are they helpful in decreasing the population of spotted lanternflies, but they also feed on other pests such as flies and mosquitoes. Way to go, praying mantis!

Stinging insects like paralytic wasps also contributes to the destruction of spotted lanternfly eggs. The larvae of paralytic wasps that were hatched inside the spotted lanternfly eggs will hungrily munch down the said eggs. And our heroes win.

Additionally, some birds and chickens are also known to be preying on spotted lanternflies.

Also Read: How to Get Rid of Lanternflies Naturally

How to Get Rid of Spotted Lanternflies Naturally

How to Get Rid of Spotted Lanternflies Naturally

  • Look For the Eggs.

Since the cold weather will not kill any of these eggs, the best practical way to get rid of spotted lanternflies is to hunt for their eggs. Come spring, start looking for eggs on almost every surface you have in your yard. Whether it’s a tree, an old vehicle, an old tire, blocks of cement, or rocks, check every possible place where a spotted lanternfly can lay its eggs. Because, unlike any other pests, spotted lanternflies are not so picky about where they lay their eggs on. Not only that, these eggs can bravely survive any living conditions.

We will discuss more on how to kill these eggs as you read further effectively.

  • Find Helpful Ingredients at Home

A homemade spotted lanternfly spray can help eliminate the presence of these pests on your beloved plants and trees. 

A condiment sitting in your cupboard can be used in killing a spotted lanternfly on the spot. Fill a bottle spray with vinegar, and that’s it. 

Essential oils mixed with water can also be a good killer spray for spotted lanternflies. It kills the pests instantly, but not your plants.

Dish soap and water spray can also be used in getting rid of spotted lanternflies on the spot. These ingredients are safer for your family and pets at home, but please be careful when spraying them on more sensitive plants, as you might be killing both at once. For a more deadly spray, combine dish soap and apple cider in a spray bottle, and you’re in for a kill.

  • Trap Trees

A trap tree, as the name indicates, is a tree that you can use as a trap. And this is essentially a tree that the lanternflies seem to be drawn to.

If you’re in Pennsylvania, it’ll most likely be a tree of paradise.

Wrap many adhesive bands around the tree to catch a bunch of the lanternflies. 

You are free to construct as many trap trees as you wish. Multiple trees that are spaced out appear to cover more ground.

The bands do not need to cover the whole tree; only the bark and trunk should be covered.

As needed, replace the bands. Once a lanternfly is caught on it, it will mold the band, rendering it useless against other flies.

So, especially if you have a large population of lanternflies, change them frequently.

The most successful trap bands are positioned approximately four feet above the ground and then wound securely around the tree. Staples, tape, or pushpins can be used to secure the band to the tree.

It’s possible that you’ll have to smooth down the bark to get the band to stay there.

Attach the band tightly so that there are no gaps between the band and the tree because this will allow them to slither below the band and avoid the trap.

Then, the majority of Spotted Lanternflies are trapped.

This trapping method, combined with protection quarantine and zones, has previously been implemented by several jurisdictions.

  • Neem oils

You can pour the neem oil into a spray bottle and spray the tree that has lanternflies, and you may kill them.

Alternatively, you may set up the neem oil traps in the locations where you think they are present. Simply fill mason jars with neem oil and seal them.

Then, either around your house or in the trees, set up the traps. Over time, this will trap and kill the lanternflies. The neem oil works well to get rid of lanternflies.

How Do You Kill a Spotted Lanternfly Egg?

Getting rid of a spotted lanternfly egg is never a bad idea. As stated above, spotted lanternfly can lay their eggs on almost any protected surface. So when you found the nest, what’s next? It’s pretty simple. Scrape the eggs by using any cardboard or a dull knife and put them in a container with alcohol. If you’re pissed with all the havoc they made, you can just squish them inside a plastic bag.

 How to Prevent a Spotted Lanternfly? 

  • Aim for the eggs

What better way to get rid of this pest than by targeting the first stage of its life cycle? Start by looking for possible areas such as the base of your tree trunk where the eggs might be.  

  • Remove the host

As painful as it may sound, removing the plant host may be the best for you and all the other trees. Since the tree of heaven is the top pick of spotted lanternflies, removing this host plant can help you save your other plants that are not infected yet. 


Author Ethan