Spotted Lanternflies Have Been Spotted! Here’s What to Do

You may have heard in recent news that the Spotted Lanternfly has landed in Pennsylvania. This is true! An invasive species native to China, Bangladesh, and Vietnam, Spotted Lanternflies have made their way to 14 unsuspecting Pennsylvania counties, including Berks, Lancaster, Philadelphia, Dauphin, Montgomery, Monroe, and Lehigh counties.

We know what you’re thinking: it’s just another bug! Kill it and move on! With these little buggers, not the case. The PA Department of Agriculture has labeled spotted lanternflies as a dangerous invasive species and any sightings should be reported online or via phone at 1-888-4BADFLY.

What Do Spotted Lanternflies Do?Spotted Lanternfly Wings Open

The Spotted Lanternfly may look pretty with its black and white spotted forewings and contrasting red and black hind wings, but don’t be fooled; these babies are nothing but trouble. They damage trees, causing oozing sap, wilting branches, curling leaves, and tree dieback. They also excrete a sugary substance called honeydew when they feed, which coats the trees and causes a black, sooty mold to cover the bark of the tree. While this mold is not harmful to humans, it causes damage to the tree as well as surrounding plants.

The lanternflies also travel in packs, sometimes swarming in droves of hundred and coating decks and playgrounds with their honeydew. Should these lanternflies persist in the area, they’ll lay their eggs on tree bark in large clumps and threaten an even more vast infestation the following year.

Spotted Lanternfly egg masses look like unevenly-spread mortar that’s been smeared on the tree’s bark. Each egg mass contains roughly 30-50 eggs and they are protected by a hard, mud-like coating. Should you find an egg mass, after reporting it to the proper authorities, you can follow these steps to destroy it:

lanternfly eggs covered by "mud"

  • Use a plastic card or putty knife to scrape the mass completely off the tree or other surface
  • Scrape the mass into a bag or container filled with rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer, which is proven most effective in destroying the eggs
  • You can also smash or burn the eggs, though rubbing alcohol is most effective

Spotted Lanternflies and Dominion Pest Control

At Dominion, tackling an invasive species is right up our alley! We are equipped to treat for spotted lanternflies should you find them on your property, as seen in our video here. If you do come across these pesky flies, your first call should be to the Department of Agriculture, and your second call should be to Dominion! Where there is one lanternfly, there is likely an entire colony waiting to lay their eggs and destroy your trees.

We’ve had increased reports of the Spotted Lanternfly in the Ephrata and Lititz areas. If you live in either of these locations, we strongly encourage you to be on high alert for lanternflies and report them immediately if you spot them.

Don’t wait! Finding these pesky critters and calling on us for treatment is a service to the state of Pennsylvania in eliminating them once and for all. Find an infestation? Remember to call the PA Department of Agriculture first and foremost, but then call Dominion Pest Control at 717-393-7879 for a thorough treatment of your property.