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Crow’s Nest or thereabouts: Spotted lanternfly

August 30, 2018

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager.

Photo: Daniel Barringer

We don’t have ailanthus trees, the preferred host of spotted lanternfly, at the preserve any more. That species of tree is weedy enough that we got rid of them long ago. But they are still in the neighborhood; this one is near the preserve, and covered in spotted lanternflies!

The exudate from their piercing and sucking the tree’s sap formed a white goo at the base of the tree. Most of what is under the tree is covered in a sooty mold that colonizes the “honeydew.” My feet crunched on lanternflies as I walked around. I think I’ve seen this sci fi movie.

By the way, this tree and others nearby would make excellent “trap trees” if treated with insecticide, an effort being undertaken by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the USDA. I know they’re aware of this site since signs posted earlier this year warn visitors to nearby State Game Lands #43 to check their stuff to avoid moving lanternfly egg masses. However, this tree has not been treated because if it had been, the lanternflies would all be dead on the ground at its base.

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