Spotted Lanternflies are in Backcountry

The invasive spotted lanternfly has been spotted in August off King Street between Bedford Road and Locust Road.  These adults are on their seasonal eating stage heading into fall.  Other towns including Stamford and New Canaan have also reported the presence of these insects.  This native of China was first discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014 and has been gradually spreading out to other states as they multiply searching for food. History has shown they can spread 7 to 10 miles in a year.  While they are not known to deforest acres of wooden grounds as have gypsy moths in the past, they feast on invasive trees-of-heaven and can do damage to native cherry, walnut, and maple trees found here. They are a nuisance for homeowners, but are an agricultural threat to fruit trees, raspberries, and grape vineyards.

When the adult lanternfly shows up in a group it is easy to see due to their large size of spotted wings with splashes of red.  An adult is the size of a large moth or medium sized butterfly.  The insect lays clusters of 30-50 eggs and can withstand severe weather and cold on a variety of surfaces. They do not have natural predators except for a specific wasp that eat eggs and nymphs, so humans are encouraged by local municipalities to kill them when possible, especially if clusters of eggs are detected. Certain insecticides can be used on eggs and crushing them individually works but is not effective for a large quantity.  Perhaps the best and easiest method if the insects are in your yard is to purchase a roll of treated tape to wrap around a tree trunk. This tape attracts the lanternflies and the sticky surface traps them from pulling away or continuing to climb the tree.

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