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Spotted Lantern Butterfly

greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 592 ✭✭✭✭

If you happen to live within one of the territories which is under quarantine because of this insect which has somehow been transported to the USA and which is causing so many difficulties, here's some great news if you happen to like real live Christmas trees in your home every year...

"Real trees are part of an outdoor ecosystem, thus there is always a chance that insects may be brought indoors with a tree. With the spotted lanternfly currently an issue of concern, questions have been raised regarding the possibility of spotted lanternflies being carried into homes. Although unlikely spotted lanternfly eggs will be on Christmas trees, if they were to hatch indoors the nymphs pose no threat to humans or animals, and will die quickly. Christmas Tree growers follow integrated pest management practices to minimize such threats. If consumers are concerned they are encouraged to inspect the tree prior to purchase. Spotted lanternfly egg masses are visible on the bark if present and can be easily removed. Purchasing real Christmas trees benefits local growers and the local economy. They are also an environmentally friendly choice as Christmas trees are a renewable resource and can be easily recycled, unlike artificial trees. For those living inside the quarantine zone, we encourage trees to be disposed of by recycling programs where they will be shredded and composted or burned (if allowed by the municipality) and should not transported out of the quarantine zone."


  • merlin44merlin44 Posts: 425 ✭✭✭✭

    Haven't heard of the spotted lanternfly, what are they? Why are they are a problem?

  • greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 592 ✭✭✭✭

    @merlin44 it is an invasive insect which preys mainly on fruit trees. It does not bother the fruit itself, it preys on the tree trunk, branches, limbs, twigs etc which ultimately kills off the entire forest. Once the spotted lanternfly has been sited, since it devastates a forest by boring holes into the bark leaving the internal sap open to the air, then the farmer ends up with problems with other insects also because they have found a new food source just sitting in the fields waiting for them to come join in on the buffet. Around me, orchards are prevalent here so it is wiping out entire farmers which grow apples, peaches, plums and almost any above ground fruit which is grown on a tree. So far it hasn't affected bush fruit plants (like berries) but it's unfortunate to say but it also hasn't run out of a tree as its food source yet in this area.

    The USDA hasn't really came up with a "how did it get into this country" yet but it is believed to have been imported from overseas and introduced to the US markets from there.

    So in essence the first year you find it on your property is the last year will have a harvest unless immediate measures are taken to care for your trees. In many places though which are having the problem, killing off the adult population has become relatively easy to figure out (of course it's with chemicals) but the bigger problem has been figuring out how to kill off the offspring. The eggs are difficult to locate and once hatched you now have an entire host of new "babies" proliferating the area.

  • EarlKellyEarlKelly Penn state master gardener Northeastern Pennsylvania zone 5bPosts: 230 ✭✭✭

    Very nasty bug. Cornell university has teamed up with penn state university. The.y have come across a biological controlled that seems to kill the spotted lantern fly. Hopefully if the testing goes well it will be available soon. Good luck if your in the quarrentine zone.

  • greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 592 ✭✭✭✭

    @EarlKelly thanks for the update. I know the last we've heard is killing off the adults has been" remedied" if you follow the measures they have deemed OK but the eggs are more of the problem right now. Sure it's not that hard to find the eggs and scrape them off if you have a few trees but even that's not that easy to make sure you have them all. But the farmers around here which have entire orchards, for them it's like a nightmare in reality zone right now.

    And the organic farmers around here have to go out everyday and check every single one of their trees. Since it's fruit orchard territory all around me they spend their whole day just going up and down ladders or placing tree pickers in position so the can inspect tree after tree.

  • EarlKellyEarlKelly Penn state master gardener Northeastern Pennsylvania zone 5bPosts: 230 ✭✭✭

    Wanted to let you know, just received an update on the spotted lantern fly. 12 more counties have been added to the quarantine list. Mostly to the west. Hope we can get ahead of this pest. This makes 26 counties in Pa that are now in the quarantine part. If I hear of anything else of importance will keep you posted.

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