While the spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) may be relatively new to the United States, arriving from Asia around 2014, this flying insect has quickly become a pest that many in the northeast have been trying to combat. The spotted lanternfly often spreads by laying egg masses that may end up being transported if they are hidden in boxes, on vehicles or become attached to other articles that are often relocated.
During the spotted lanternfly life cycle of this flying insect, lanternfly eggs mass together to form a covered grouping. In time, the spotted lanternfly egg mass transitions to an uncovered state. Lanternfly larvae are hatched and become early-stage nymphs, eventually growing into late-stage nymphs and then into adults.
State-Wide Hunts For Spotted Lanternfly Larvae And Adults
The spotted lanternfly is considered an invasive species that threatens certain crops and industries. In particular, the logging industry is under threat by the lanternfly, and orchards are also a target for these insects. Additionally, the lanternfly can leave behind a substance that encourages the development of sooty mold, further causing damage to plant life and man-made structures. As a result, some states, including New York, have launched initiatives to push back against lanternfly infestations.
In February 2022, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets announced an awareness and tracking initiative that allows members of the public to report sightings of the lanternfly and its egg masses. This initiative is being conducted in conjunction with other state agencies, including the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
Pennsylvania has also taken steps to curb lanternfly infestations. The state has created the Spotted Lanternfly Order of Quarantine and Treatment which forbids the movement of egg masses. It also establishes quarantine zones and regulates specific articles that are known to harbor spotted lanternfly egg masses. Some articles included in the order include firewood, nursery stock and packing materials.
Spotted Lanternfly Eggs And Crop Damage
Although the egg mass itself isn’t damaging, the appearance of a spotted lanternfly egg mass denotes an infestation. This means that nearby crops could be in jeopardy as the egg mass hatches. Eggs typically take a few months to hatch, with egg-laying taking place during the fall months and emergence occurring sometime around May of each year in affected areas.
Aside from the damage caused by the lanternfly itself gorging on crops and greenery, the residue left behind by the lanternfly is an attractant for other insects and wildlife. This has the potential to invite additional pests that can damage crops and harm humans. Lumber operations are also susceptible to damage as these insects can damage wood, timber and lumber.
How To Identify And Dispose Of Spotted Lanternfly Eggs
If you’ve never been exposed to spotted lanternfly eggs, they can be easy to miss. While the lanternfly itself is brightly colored with red bottom wings, these insects are also quite small. They do, however, tend to congregate en masse, so while individual lanternflies may be difficult to spot, groups are easier to see. As a result, an egg mass may be as small as your fingernail and will usually be found on the bark of trees in the wild.
In and around a home, egg masses can be attached to everyday objects like boxes, backpacks, trashcans and building materials. This is where egg masses become particularly concerning since this species spreads primarily through the human movement of objects.
The egg mass itself tends to appear gray or brown in color and has a bumpy texture that may include the resemblance of individual chambers. If you notice an egg mass, you’re encouraged to dispose of it immediately. The preferred method for removing egg masses is to use an object with a hard, flat edge to scrape the egg mass off of whatever surface it is attached to.
Once the egg mass has been sufficiently removed through scraping, you’re encouraged to soak the remains in rubbing alcohol. An egg mass may also be burned, but authorities believe that alcohol is the most effective solution.