Experts provide tips on fighting spotted lanternflies in NYC this fall

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, August 17, 2023
Experts provide tips on fighting spotted lanternflies in NYC this fall
Officials say that if the spotted lanternfly isn't controlled, it could cost the New York economy $300 million a year. Dani Beckstrom has more on what you can do to help out.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Experts provided tips on Thursday on the spotted lanternfly population in New York City and what to expect this fall.

Officials from Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and other pest management experts also provided tips on how to manage the invasive species.

The message remains clear from experts: the invasive species isn't a danger to people or pets, but the the pest can be a nuisance to agriculture.

They lay eggs mid-to-late September and they withstand the cold winter temperatures that adults cannot and pose the risk of being transported long distances if stuck to cars.

"We encourage the public to do outdoor inspections of outdoor equipment," said Justin Perry, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Bureau Chief of Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health. That includes checking vehicles, luggage and gear and all outdoor items.

While New York City residents do not need to report sightings, they are encouraged to continue to kill the pests to help control the population.

"I've seen people with shop vacs or with portable backpack vacuums or even a little hand-held vacuum," said Brian Eshenaur, Senior Extension Associate, NYS Integrated Pest Management at Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. "A circle trap, this takes advantage of the behavior of the spotted lanternfly. The spotted lanternfly always like to crawl up. This is a sticky trap and this is a very simple way to trap the spotted lanternfly."

Officials say that if the spotted lanternfly isn't controlled, it could cost the New York economy $300 million a year.

The invasive species can cause significant damage to wooded areas and agriculture like fruit trees. The biggest concern is about the grape and wine industry, mostly on Long Island.

The bugs were first found in New York State on Staten Island in August 2020. The spotted lanternfly has been observed in all five boroughs and in several locations across the state.

WATCH: Experts provide update on spotted lanternflies

Over in Westchester, the county parks department is using high-powered commercial vacuums to remove the insects.

They're also using dogs to help sniff out spotted lanternfly eggs.

Important dates:

- The spotted lanternfly is in its adult stage and you will likely see it through late November, or the first hard frost.

-You may see eggs from the spotted lanternfly starting in September.

What to know:

- While residents of NYC do NOT need to report sightings of spotted lanternflies, they should continue to kill spotted lanternflies to control the population.

- Spotted lanternflies are not harmful to you, your pets, or forest or urban trees.

- The public is encouraged to thoroughly inspect vehicles, luggage and gear, and all outdoor items for spotted lanternflies. If spotted lanternfly adults are found, residents should destroy them.

- Residents can use at-home control methods to help manage spotted lanternflies on their properties.

How to kill them:

- Traps: Sticky band traps encircling the trunk can be effective, but they must be accompanied by a barrier, such as a wire mesh or screen, to prevent the capture of beneficial insects and animals, such as birds.

- Circle traps: Circle traps consist of screening that encircles the trunk of a tree, which funnels climbing spotted lanternflies into a container at the top from which they cannot escape.

- Insecticides: Since SLF rarely cause damage to landscape trees, treatment is not necessary for the health of the tree; but if they become a nuisance, insecticides can be used. Residents may choose to hire a certified applicator who is equipped to make a tree injection, bark sprays, or soil drenches.

- Vacuum removal: Hand-held, backpack style rechargeables and even big shop vacuums all can be useful in managing SLF.

- Once the SLF lays its eggs, residents are being asked to scrape off egg masses and dispose of them.

ALSO READ | Weather or Not: The race to stop the spotted lanternfly's spread

They're colorful, they're pretty, and they're quick. But this insect has got to go. It's the invasive spotted lanternfly, and parts of New Jersey have been divided into quarantine zones to try to contain the bugs. Now they're popping up all across our area, even in Manhattan.


* More Northern Suburbs news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If attaching a video or photo, terms of use apply.