How Spotted Lanternfly Damage is Affecting Local PA Businesses

Anyone who lives in southeastern Pennsylvania— as far north as Monroe County to Philadelphia— has likely seen, or at least heard of, the Spotted Lanternfly.

Let’s learn more about this invasive bug and how it’s affecting local businesses across the state:

The Spotted Lanternfly is Invading Pennsylvania

The Spotted Lanternfly is an invasive species, brought to the U.S. from its native hopping grounds in China, India, and Vietnam. How it got here, we’re not quite sure, but it was first discovered in PA’s Berk’s County and is rapidly breeding and expanding its territory.

In fact, it’s spread so quickly and abundantly, the Spotted Lanternfly is currently under quarantine in 13 counties of Pennsylvania, according to Penn State University.

Thankfully, the university is leading research around the insect’s biology, pesticide studies and more to remove the foreign pest, but there’s still a lot the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and PA Department of Agriculture (PDA) have to do to contain the spread. Fortunately, these environmental entities know enough about the bug to offer some advice on managing the Spotted Lanternfly damage and containing the outbreak.

Spotted Lanternflies Feed on the “Tree-of-Heaven” & More

Because Spotted Lanternflies are from China, they love the deciduous Chinese Tree-of-Heaven, which was introduced in Philadelphia back in 1784 and have since spread across the country, all the way to California. These monstrous trees are quite large and can grow to heights of 80-100 feet— feeding many hungry lanternflies.

While the Tree-of-Heaven is a popular snack and breeding spot for the Spotted Lanternfly, your business still isn’t safe if you don’t have one. This insect likes grape plants, hops, and apple trees. You’re likely not making wine or beer or growing fruit on-site, but the bugs can also feed on a number of hardwoods, like black walnut and maple trees.

In fact, Spotted Lanternflies can harm at least 40 species of native plants in the U.S., according to The N.Y. Times, making almost no landscape protected.

Spotted Lanternflies Cause Black Mold

The bugs feed on plants and trees by inserting their piercing mouth into the vegetation like a straw, sucking the life from your landscape.

As the Spotted Lanternfly feeds, it excretes a sugary water on the surface of and around plants, which encourages the growth of a black sooty mold. While the mold can’t harm people, this lanternfly damage can cause harm to your company’s outdoor ecosystem.

Unfortunately, lanternflies aren’t the only bugs who can cause this mold growth. Aphids, leafhoppers, planthoppers or scale insects can also be the culprit, so it’s important you identify the pest, properly. Sometimes, this requires the expert eye of a landscaping professional.

If Your County is Affected, You Need a Permit from the PDA

To stop the spread of this invasive species, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is requiring all businesses who operate within quarantined counties to receive a permit in order to move equipment and goods within and out of the restricted zones.

Businesses must pass a free online course, taking approximately two hours, to receive the permit. It’ll educate your owner, manager or supervisor on the importance of stopping Spotted Lanternfly damage and spread— as well as what you can do to remove these pests from your commercial property. Then, you can pass on the knowledge to your employees.

Again, any PA business within the PDA’s quarantined area is legally required to take and pass this course to receive the necessary permit, so don’t wait!

What Your Business Can Do

There are a few things your business can do to prevent further Spotted Lanternfly damage and prevent them from breeding on your commercial property:

  • Scrape their egg nests. Spotted Lanternfly egg masses look like slabs of gray cement smeared on the side of trees or rocks. Using a putty knife, scrape the nest into a bag and smash or burn the remains.
  • Tape your trees. After young lanternflies hatch, they feed on the soft new growth at the base of your tree or plants. Wrap these areas with adhesive banding tape to stop the nymphs in their tracks.
  • Remove their food sources. While re-landscaping isn’t ideal, if you have many Tree-of-Heaven trees or other vegetation that these bugs like to eat, it may be best to replace them with alternative plants.
  • Chemically treat your property. A lawn care professional can treat your commercial property with EPA-registered insecticides, deterring new lanternflies from coming around and removing current pests.

Trust the Pest Management Experts

Have you tried all you can to protect your business from this invasive pest to no avail? Spotted Lanternfly damage to your landscape can cost your company a lot of money, and the unpleasant bugs can deter customers.

Our team at Caramanico knows the right Spotted Lanternfly insecticide to keep them away.

Request your commercial property assessment and we can protect your corporate landscape, today.