Gardeners can play role in stopping spotted lanternfly

Mark Abrams
April 14, 2019 - 4:00 am
Spotted lanternfly

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- As you're beginning to clean out the yard and get your garden ready, you can play a role in stopping the spread of a destructive, invasive foreign pest.

It's the spotted lanternfly and it has been feasting on fruit trees, grapevines, hops, hardwoods, and ornamentals since its arrival from Asia in 2014 in several counties in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Emelie Swackhamer, a horticulture educator with Penn State's Montgomery County extension office in Collegeville, says now is the time to attack and destroy spotted lanternfly egg masses.

"The female lays her eggs in rows," she explained, "and then she covers them with a secretion from her body so the secretion dries down and it almost looks like mud on trees."

Swackhamer says the eggs can also be found on decorative stones, yard furniture, swing sets, and fences.

She says it's easy to take 'em out.

"We recommend that people use like a stiff card," Swackhamer said. "If you have some sort of old credit card, that would work, or even a butter knife, something you can get underneath the eggs but not gouge into the bark of the tree and just scrape them into a container."

A plastic sandwich bag is good, too, she says. Just put a little alcohol or hand sanitizer inside the bag and crush the eggs in the alcohol solution.

More information is available at the Penn State University website.