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How We Treat the Spotted Lanternfly

How to Treat for Spotted Lanternflies

The two best ways to kill Lanternflies are with either a soil injection or by spraying the tree with an insecticide.


So, what is the best way?

The answer is, there are benefits and drawbacks to both. Hiring a trained professional to do the treatment is important. These treatments must be applied correctly, with the right insecticides and at the right time of year in order for the tree to properly absorb it. A Green Giant tree technician can determine the best option based on your situation.


Benefits of Soil Injection:

The two most important advantages of soil injection are that the treatment is done before there is damage to the tree and Green Giant guarantees season-long control with soil injections (for covered pests such as Spotted Lanternfly, Japanese Beetles and others ). 

A soil injection early in the season is the best way to protect your susceptible trees. With this treatment, your trees will be protected from the Lanternflies before the insects start causing damage.  Spotted Lanternflies generally begin to hatch in late spring and the material that was injected into the soil earlier in the season will provide a high level of control.

Soil injection does not harm non-target insects. There are hundreds of insects on trees that provide necessary ecological functions and it is important to preserve these beneficial insects. The only insects that are impacted by soil injection are those that are feeding on and damaging the tree. 

Soil injections eliminate spray-drift. That is, when spraying a tree, sometimes the material will drift to non-target locations.

Green Giant guarantees season-long control with soil injection (for covered pests). 

With spray applications, the material typically lasts about two weeks and multiple treatments will be needed for full-season control.


Why spray a tree if Soil Injection is better?

On average, it takes about a month for the material to move into and through the entire tree. Therefore, soil injection will not provide immediate relief to a tree that is currently being attacked by the insects – but a spray application will. When a tree is infested with actively-feeding Lanternflies, it may be necessary to perform a soil injection and spray the tree. Then, in future years, just be sure to have the soil injection done early enough to be effective when the Lanternflies begin to feed.

The other drawback is that the soil injections can only be (effectively) performed from February (if the soil is not frozen) through June. Outside of that time window, spraying is the best option.


Other ways to help reduce Spotted Lanternfly infestations


Banding – Tree banding is a way to help reduce the number of Spotted Lanternflies in the ‘crawler’ stage. (Yes, this is when they crawl, after the egg stage and before they can fly). 

Banding a tree consists of attaching a sticky ‘band’ around the trunk of a tree. This band can be duct tape (or a similar material) attached to the tree with the sticky side facing out. 

When the insects crawl up and down the tree, they will get stuck on the tape.

What we have noticed is that the lanternfly crawlers do not actually crawl down the tree – they mostly get blown or knocked off the tree then crawl back up. This is obvious when you see the insects sticking to the bottom portion of the band and not the top.

Lanternflies typically hatch in late spring so the bands should be on the trees by April or early May to be most effective.

One problem that needs to be considered is that birds can sometimes get stuck on the tape. It is best to use a material that is sticky enough to catch the lanternfly crawlers but not so strong that it will harm birds.

Another approach that can reduce the number of lanternflies is to scrape the egg masses off the tree and into a zip lock bag. Have some rubbing alcohol in the bag and soak the eggs to kill them.  Using a putty knife or a plastic card can easily remove the egg masses.

Neither the banding nor the scrapping of egg masses will eliminate the problem but, it may reduce the populations enough to make it worth the effort.


Do I really need to treat my trees for the lanternflies? 

Adult LanternflyIt is a good idea to treat any trees that are infested with Spotted Lanternflies. Spotted Lanternflies can kill your trees and it is much less expensive to treat them than it is to replace them. But, even if you have an infested tree(s) that you don’t want to save, it is still good to treat because it will help reduce the population of this damaging insect whose population is exploding.


Contact us to find out more about what can be done to decrease the Spotted Lanternfly population.