In recent years, spotted lanternflies have started to spread across agriculture and other industries. Infestations began to be a problem in Pennsylvania in 2014 .
These prettily marked, colorful insects are so attractive that you may mistake them for small butterflies or moths. However, they are destructive planthoppers. As a result, learning how to get rid of them is important.
Spotted lanternflies feed on the sap of many plants and crops, including fruit trees, vegetables, flowers, and hardwoods.
Additionally, they leave behind a trail of honeydew, which can attract even more pests. Besides, the sticky liquid can stain areas of the house if the pests have spread indoors.
In some areas, spotted lanternflies are controlled organically to a degree by natural predators like birds that eat them. Other organic control methods are also becoming popular today.
Here’s how to get rid of lanternflies naturally:
1. Scrape Off the Eggs
The life cycle of the spotted lanternfly (SLF) begins around September, when the females lay 30 to 60 eggs, which will overwinter unless destroyed .
These appear as grayish, muddy-looking accretions on bark, plant stems, garden furniture, walls, cement, and other hard surfaces.
To get rid of spotted lanternfly eggs, use a scraper or any other flat-edged tool to scrape them off. You can then put them in a bag and dispose of the bag, preferably by burning it.
This is a laborious but free method that is effective in preventing a later infestation.
2. Insecticidal Soap
A solution of insecticidal soap can be sprayed directly on adult lanternflies or even at an earlier stage of development (the baby stage).
Collect up the dead pests and put them in a bag. Next, place the bag in the trash or burn it.
Misting plants, shrubs, and trees with this solution where there is evidence of infestation is an effective way of killing adult lanternflies over a wide surface area.
Alternatively, mix insecticidal soap with apple cider vinegar in a mason jar and hang it on or near infested trees or plants. This will help to attract, catch, and kill the pests.
3. Sticky Tape
Sticky traps or tapes to catch lantern flies can be bought from stores but are easily and cheaply made at home. Hang from infested tree branches.
You can also hang thin strips of duct tape or attach them to trees. However, use caution to avoid contact with pets.
4. Vacuum Them
Another easy and inexpensive natural way of ridding the garden or house of these unwanted insects is to simply vacuum them up and dispose of them.
As with other methods, dispose of the dead or dying insects without opening the bag, preferably by burning.
Sweep up any dead insects remaining without crushing them. Additionally, drop survivors into a soapy solution to avoid staining and mold-forming sticky residue.
5. Control the Tree of Heaven
The main tree that spotted lanternflies are attracted to is the tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima) . Cutting back these trees or chopping them down can deal with current problems and reduce the possibility of future infestations.
These trees grow rapidly to a height of up to 8 feet in the first year. Agricultural authorities in states where lantern infestations are prevalent recommend reducing these invasive trees.
Burning the branches after cutting and spraying stump treatment around the remaining tree base is a wise course of action.
Vinegar kills spotted lanternflies on contact. Although you can dilute apple cider or white household vinegar, it is more effective when you spray it raw, directly onto nymphs and adults.
Dispose of dead pests carefully to avoid retaining the sticky honeydew, which can turn to black mold.
7. Soap and Water
A homemade lantern fly spray made of liquid soap and water is another simple way to kill lantern flies. Dawn dish soap works fine; however, we use organic soaps in all our recipes.
Combine equal parts of liquid soap and water in a spray bottle. Use it to spray SLF. The soapy water will suffocate and kill them.
8. Neem Oil
Neem oil, a natural fungicide and pesticide derived from the seeds of the neem tree, becomes active when lantern bugs and other insects ingest the substance.
However, neem oil does not kill spotted lanternfly nymphs or adults immediately, as the process takes some time to inhibit the pests’ eating abilities. They will be unable to feed, though, and eventually die.
Many commercially available products contain neem oil to use as a spray right away. Alternatively, you can make a DIY solution.
A simple homemade spotted lanternfly spray recipe is 4 teaspoons of neem oil combined with 2 teaspoons of liquid soap and a gallon of water. Spray the critters directly.
9. Essential Oils
You can use various essential oils in a solution to deal with an infestation.
Oils of lavender, rosemary, peppermint or spearmint oils, and tea tree oil can be sprayed directly into lanternflies, which will kill them naturally and deter other pests.
10. Sticky Wraps
Trap these pests as they climb up trees. You can also control nymphs as they start their journeys up to foliage by banding trees with sticky wrap.
These wraps have had some bad press because of their potential danger to butterflies and birds. However, covering them with chicken wire minimizes these dangers.
Successful banding prevents pests from feeding and mating, breaking the lifecycle of lanternflies. Purchase sticky bands at your local gardening store.
11. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth kills many bugs and insects by way of dehydration. When the pests come into contact with it, it slowly dries them out.
Therefore, make a spray by combining 4 tablespoons of DE with a gallon of water. Shake well and use it to spray lanternflies.
You can purchase high-quality DE online or at most garden stores.
12. DIY Circle Trap
Make a homemade lantern fly trap out of netting, a funnel, and a plastic bag. For the funnel, you can use the top of a plastic milk jug.
Wrap the netting around the tree and staple it. Next, attach the funnel at one end of the netting. The nymphs will then crawl up the other end of the netting and into the funnel, which leads to the plastic bag.
This DIY method is often called an SLF circle trap. This video shows a more professional way of doing it.
13. Milkweed Bait
Milkweed is a wildflower that attracts spotted lanternflies. The insects then feed on the sap, which later poisons and kills them .
Those that don’t die immediately will be slow in movement. As a result, they will be left vulnerable to predators, or you can pick them off and crush them.
Official guidelines encourage residents and workers where infestations are occurring to make combined efforts to protect crops and plants from lanternfly attacks.
There are many natural ways to address the problem of harmful pests. The above are some of the best remedies for the organic control of spotted lanternfly nymphs and adults.