Crow’s Nest: Spotted lanternfly research

July 20, 2019

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager.

You may have seen these bands around a few trees at the preserve. They’re shaped like an upside-down U in cross-section, with sticky tape on the inside. These are being used to monitor for the early instars of spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula), part of the research being conducted here of this invasive insect by scientists from Penn State University.

Spotted lanternflies jump off trees and climb up the trunks of others, so some of them sooner or later are caught in the sticky traps. The sticky tape is on the inside of these traps to avoid catching other insects or even birds. You will see in lanternfly-infested neighborhoods sticky tape on many homeowners’ trees. There’s no way we could band the millions of trees located on the preserve, so that method of managing lanternfly is not an option in our landscape, but the traps can be used to monitor populations.

Though the lanternfly populations have exploded since accidental introduction to Pennsylvania a few years ago, their impact and how to manage them is still unclear—the reason Penn State is studying the insect and its effect on forest trees and crops. Lanternflies pierce the bark of trees and consume the sap. They digest and pass large amounts of the sugary liquid on the plants below which is then colonized by sooty molds.

Crow’s Nest Preserve is one of several locations where research is being conducted. Please do not disturb the bands or any of the survey flags that mark study areas.