To Be On The Look Out for Spotted Lanternfly Nymphs

On July 22, 2019

To Be On The Look Out for Spotted Lanternfly Nymphs

Penn State Extension researchers are reporting that hatching of spotted lanternfly eggs in Pennsylvania is mostly complete for this season, and the nymphal stages of the insect are evident over Lancaster County, as well as in counties across southeast Pennsylvania, northern Delaware and west-central New Jersey. 

The earliest instar of spotted lanternfly (SLF), which began appearing in late April, is quite tiny, about the size of a tick, and is black with small white spots. Two more stages follow, identical except for slightly larger size.  The fourth instar, much more noticeable, is red with black and white spots and is about 1/2 inch long and is just now making an appearance.  All these four nymphs are great hoppers but cannot fly. They feed on tender plant tissues, gradually moving to woody plants and trees as their greater size allows them to feed through bark.  By mid-to-late July the fourth instars will transform into the adult, which has wings and can feed on mature trees.  

The Spotted Lanternfly is an invasive insect that affects gardens and landscape plants as well as important Pennsylvania commodities.  The quarantine for Spotted Lanternfly has expanded to include fourteen counties in southeastern Pennsylvania as well as a few counties in neighboring states. It has continued to proliferate in some areas within this quarantined area.  The strategy from the beginning has been to contain the invasion while Penn State scientists and other researchers around the world work to unravel the biology of this insect. The goal is to find safe and effective controls both for commercial growers and for homeowners.  

Recently, researchers have discovered two fungal pathogens that attack and kill spotted lanternfly. While scientists are excited about this find, more research is needed (and ongoing) to further evaluate if this can be utilized to reduce populations of spotted lanternfly. 

A concern from the beginning of this invasion has been that there will be an overreaction of widespread chemical use, which itself could be a risk. Beth Finlay, Area Master Gardener Coordinator for Penn State Extension explains that SLF is not difficult to kill chemically, but that the same insecticides that many homeowners might employ are lethal to butterflies, bees, and other pollinators, and can find their way up the food chain to birds and other wildlife.  

For most residents, Penn State Master Gardeners are recommending simple mechanical management in lieu of chemical management. Stomping, swatting, or hosing with a sharp water blast can kill or disable thousands of SLF without introducing toxic products.  

There are situations which might justify use of pesticides. If so, Penn State researchers urge residents to use only registered pesticide products and to follow the label instructions carefully.  Residents may also consider hiring a licensed applicator, who will have access to Penn State Extension’s current professional guidelines.

In addition, banding trees with sticky flypaper will capture hundreds of nymphs and adults, since the feeding habit of all stages is to feed, drop to the ground, and climb up tree trunks to feed again. One simple 3-5” band placed about chest level is sufficient. But Penn State warns that there is a risk of capturing songbirds, bats, butterflies and other desirable creatures on the sticky tapes, and cautions that every band should have a cage of chicken wire or hardware cloth placed around the tree, outside the band, to keep wildlife off the tape.  

For detailed factsheets on SLF and for customized advice on how to deal with infestations, homeowners may call Penn State Master Gardener Garden Hotline at 717-394-6851 or go online at

To Learn About Alzheimers and Dementia

Many families are touched by Alzheimers and Dementia when caring for an elderly loved one. Individuals who are interested in learning more about Alzheimer’s and dementia are encouraged to participate in a workshop offered by Penn State Extension from 10 am to 11 am on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 at the Farm and Home Center, 1383 Arcadia Road, Lancaster, PA 17601.

The “Understanding Alzheimer’s and Dementia” program covers the basics of Alzheimer’s and dementia to provide a general overview for people who are facing a diagnosis, as well as those who wish to be informed. 

Participants will explore the relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, learn what happens in a brain affected by Alzheimer’s, learn about risk factors and the three general stages of the disease, and receive other helpful Alzheimer’s resources. 

There is no cost to attend the course, but space is limited. Registration will be open until August 14 or until full. For more information or to register, call Extension Registration Services at 1-877-345-0691 or register online at

Quote Of The Week: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” The words of Astronaut Neil Armstrong as he stepped from the footpad of the lunar module to the surface of the moon, becoming the first man to step on another celestial body. Today July 20, is the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon.