Expert Answer

Q: What is the best strategy for controlling the Spotted Laternfly?


Submitted by: Pest control professional Lancaster, PA

The spotted laternfly (SLF) is an invasive insect that has spread throughout southeastern Pennsylvania.  It was first identified in Berks County, PA in 2014. This insect presents a significant threat to the agriculture industry.  These pests typically attack fruit trees (but not the fruit itself).  They feed on the sap in the tree leaving oozing wounds with grey or black trails on the bark.  Even though it is not considered a structural pest, homeowners may see large populations of adults on or around their structure.

Experts recommend the following steps for management of SLF.  

Steps of Spotted Lanternfly Management

  1. Stop the spread: When traveling in and out of quarantine zones, check car and other outdoor equipment for SLF egg masses (late fall to early spring)
  2. Scrape eggs: If egg masses are found September to June, scrape them off using a plastic card or putty knife.  Place egg masses in a container with isopropyl alcohol or hand sanitizer. 
  3. Band trees:  Trees can be wrapped with sticky tape/adhesive to capture nymphs.  Be advised that non-target animals such as birds and small mammals may get stuck in adhesive. 
  4. Remove tree-of-heaven:  This is the preferred host plant of the SLF.  Removal from the landscape may greatly reduce SLF populations in an area. 
  5. Apply insecticides:  See active ingredient recommendations and management calendar below.  (PennState Extension recommendations)

PennState Extension has put together the list below of active ingredients recommended for SLF control.  *Note that some actives are systemic (absorbed by the host tree and then delivered to SLF when they feed on the plant directly) and other actives are contact (effective when pest comes in direct contact with the pesticide application area). 

Active Ingredient | Mode of Exposure

acetamiprid (neonicotinoid): Systemic/Contact

azadirachtin* (botanical):  Contact

bifenthrin (pyrethroid): Contact

carbaryl (carbamate): Contact

dinotefuran (neonicotinoid): Systemic/Contact

imidacloprid (neonicotinoid): Systemic/Contact

thiamethoxam (neonicotinoid): Systemic/Contact

soaps*: Contact

Chart taken from:

Pest Management Professional Information:  The spotted lanternfly is NOT considered a STRUCTURAL PEST.  It can be treated as an occasional invader when found on or near the structure.  Ornamental Applications require a category 6 or 7 license (depending on the site of application).  Please refer to the Department of Agriculture’s Guidelines for the Control of Spotted Lanternfly.*Organic product
Note: This product list provides an example of products with these active ingredients. It is not an endorsement or specific recommendation.

Spotted Lanternfly Permit Training for Businesses

Spotted lanternfly is an invasive insect that can damage many crops. Learn best practices to stop its spread. Businesses are required to complete this training to receive permits from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA).