Squish It!

Spotted Lanternfly - Valley Forge National Historical Park (U.S. National  Park Service)

Before the Covid-19 pandemic I was walking through the Wal-Mart parking lot and saw a beautiful insect on the ground. This insect was so incredibly beautiful that I thought it could not possibly be harmful or destructive. Boy, was I wrong. The spotted lanternfly, which has come to us from China is unbelievably destructive. Spotted lanternflies are invasive and can be spread long distances by people who move infested material or egg masses. If allowed to spread, insect can severely damage our grape, orchard, and logging industries. The spotted lanternfly causes serious damage including oozing sap, wilting, leaf curling and dieback in trees, vines, crops and many other types of plants. In addition to plant damage, when spotted lanternflies feed, they excrete a sugary substance, called honeydew, that encourages the growth of black sooty mold.

Why are Lantern flies so bad?

Image result for why is the spotted lanternfly a problem

Spotted lanternflies are sap-sucking insects and their spread is potentially detrimental to the health of the plants they feed on in their introduced ranges. The insects also lack predators in their new ranges, so their population can quickly get out of control.

If you see the bugs, smash them, and/or keep a bottle of insecticidal soap handy to spray them. Wrap your tree with sticky paper or two-sided tape. If the spotted lanternflies are on weeds you don’t want, spray them with vinegar, this may get rid of the weeds anyway. Shoot table salt on the bugs at close range. Bug Assault is a gun that does this. The first shot may not kill them, but it will stun them, making it possible to kill them on the next go-round.

Spotted Lanternfly adult, showing length of insect is one inch
resting spotted lanternfly
recognizing the eggs and the egg mass

Spotted Lanternfly Infestation on Tree.jpg

masses of spotted lanternflies laying eggs

Also, you can plant milkweed. It is poisonous to the spotted lanternfly, and very helpful to the monarch butterfly, so it is a good plant to have around.

Plus, what can I say? I don’t usually smash bugs, but these are a real exception, so it is a very satisfying squish. Just be forewarned. Sometimes they will jump or fly away, so persistence is the name of the game.

Well, here you have it, the 10, 20, and 30 of spotted lanternflies. Hopefully you haven’t lost your appetite after this post.

Take care,


“To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival.”

Wendell Berry

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