You may have noticed some extra pests buzzing around your home recently. No, not the kind that comes with a stinger. These pests are actually called lantern flies, and they’ve been plaguing homeowners up and down the Eastern United States. But what exactly are lanternflies, and why should you care? Read on to find out.
What are Lanternflies?
Lanternfiles are one of approximately 1,350 insects described as Fulgoroidea. They are found across the world but are especially diverse in the tropics. Several Fulgoridae, such as the lanternflies, have clear wings and resemble wasps or moths. Lanternflies are a type of planthopper, which is a group of insects that feed on sap. They have been called Lantern Fly or Lantern bugs and are sometimes referred to as lanternflies or lanthorn flies.
Top view of spotted lantern fly, Chester County, Pennsylvania
The exact cause of this lanternfly infestation in our area is unknown, but experts believe that they may have hitchhiked over on cargo ships from Asia. Lanternflies first appeared in Pennsylvania in 2014, and they have since spread to New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Why Care About Lanternflies?
So why should you care about lanternflies? For one thing, they’re incredibly destructive pests. Lanternflies suck sap from trees, which can weaken and even kill them. In addition, lanternflies excrete a sticky substance called honeydew as they feed. This honeydew coats leaves and attracts other pests, such as wasps and ants. Honeydew also promotes the growth of sooty mold, which can block out sunlight and make it difficult for trees to photosynthesize.
To make matters worse, female lanternflies lay their eggs on tree trunks. When the eggs hatch in late spring or early summer, the resulting nymphs immediately start feeding—and the cycle begins anew.
Lanternflies are destructive pests that originated in Asia but have since spread to the United States. They feed on tree sap and excrete honeydew, which attracts other pests and promotes the growth of sooty mold. Female lanternflies lay their eggs on tree trunks, and when the eggs hatch in late spring or early summer, the resulting nymphs immediately start feeding—and the cycle begins anew.
What can you do to control Lanterflies?
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help control the spread of lanternflies, They don’t respond to most pesticides, so your best bet is to try to keep them out of your yard by sealing any openings around doors and windows and keeping lights off or turned down low at night. And if you see one, squish it—the fewer of these nasty bugs we have around, the better. Some people recommend spraying trees with insecticides such as carbaryl or imidacloprid. If you prefer to have Boo scare away the lanternflies, we can handle that for you. Contact Boo here.
Image credit – Adobe Stock