The spotted lanternfly is vying with COVID-19 to become Public Enemy #1. This invasive species was reportedly first seen on a tree of heaven in Pennsylvania in 2014. In July 2021, this native of India, China, and Vietnam was seen in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia.
Recently, NYC Parks put out an alert to kill lantern flies and their progeny on sight. This is unusual as they stand by a creed that city wildlife should be protected, but their one-time call is, “if you see a spotted lanternfly, squish and dispose of it.” There have been several sightings in North Brooklyn parks and backyards
Spotted lanternflies feed on the sap of trees and vines and is considered to be a threat to agriculture. The yield from apple trees, stone fruit trees, grapes, etc. could be significantly compromised.
Now is the time to strike as adults lay their eggs masses in late summer through December, but most are laid in October. These eggs survive the winter and will hatch in spring. Egg masses consist of rows of small single eggs, roughly the size of a sharpened pencil point. The rows can vary in length, their color varies from yellow to brown. After the eggs are deposited, the female usually covers them with a sticky material that appears a glossy white at first then as it dries becomes duller grey-brown. Some egg masses don’t get covered, and these have only a 10% lower rate of hatching so they are still a threat. Egg masses found from September to May, can be scraped off using a plastic card or putty knife then deposited into a bag or container that is filled with rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer. The eggs should remain in this solution permanently.
Any spotted lanternfly or egg mass sightings should be reported to NYC Parks by emailing Forest.Health@parks.nyc.gov. Please include photos, location of the infestation, and details of property damage. You can also help prevent the spread of spotted lanternflies by refraining from moving firewood, outdoor furniture, and other outdoor items that may contain SLF egg masses.
For more information: www.nycgovparks.org/trees/spotted-lanternfly-infestation