Invasive spotted lanternflies are creating a major problem in many parts of the world. Native to China, these insects have made their way to other countries and habitats. Unfortunately, because they are not native to those areas, they have had a negative impact on the ecosystem.
If you want to tackle spotted lanternflies with a homemade solution, mixing up a repellent is a cost-effective and easy way to get rid of these pests. It is easy to make a solution that gets rid of spotted lanternflies with ingredients that you likely already have on hand.
Mix one part dish soap and one part water in a spray bottle. You can use this spray directly on the lanternfly to drown it. The soap ensures that the solution sticks to the lanternfly. It will be unable to fly and escape. You may need to use a lot of spray to fully target the lanternfly. This is also a good way to keep lanternflies from accumulating. However, keep in mind that it can be destructive to plants. So only spray it on surfaces that are free of plants.
Another option is to mix white vinegar with water. This is effective on a variety of pests, including lanternflies. You will follow the same ratio and mix in a similar spray bottle.
If you want to deter lanternflies from causing damage to your plants, it’s best to get rid of them before they hatch. If you notice lanternfly eggs, carefully remove and destroy them.
Tips for Making Homemade Pest Repellents
As with any homemade solution, it’s important to label the bottle and only use it as intended. If you forget to label it with the ingredients, you might inadvertently spray it on your plants thinking that you are watering them. However, the soap or vinegar will have the opposite impact and might end up killing your plant. It is also important to keep all solutions out of the reach of children and pets. While this repellent is not poisonous, it can cause an upset stomach if ingested. It is meant to be sprayed as a repellent only.
Why Are Spotted Lanternflies Destructive?
These invasive insects eat plants and can cause major damage to everything from trees to vines to crops. When they eat, they leave behind a sugary secretion that makes the surface very appealing to black sooty mold. Not only is this unsightly, but it can cause major damage to the plant and spread easily. A major infestation of lanternflies often results in the death of the plant host. This can have far-reaching repercussions to the overall ecosystem. They are particularly aggressive with crops like grapes, apples, and hops.
Spotted lanternflies lay between 30 and 50 eggs at a time. This means that one spotted lanternfly can create many new generations. These eggs often spread when they lay their eggs on cargo shipments or plants that are then transferred to new areas. When the eggs hatch, an entirely new round of lanternflies finds a new home.
If you see spotted lanternfly eggs on your plants or outdoor surfaces, make sure to remove them right away. The eggs are laid in a mass and covered with a thick substance that makes them look like one large white spot on the plant. These are often on logs or branches. As they mature, the white covering will turn brown and eventually crack as the eggs hatch and the young lanternflies emerge. If you catch the eggs and remove them when the covering is glossy white, that is the best way to keep the lanternflies from hatching.
Should I Kill Spotted Lanternflies?
If you see them in an area as an invasive species, yes, you should kill spotted lanternflies. You can do this by squishing them or spraying them with this homemade solution. Strong commercial insect repellents can also kill lanternflies.
It is also important to report the sighting of a spotted lanternfly to help track the movements of the insects as an invasive species. While they are not present in all areas of the United States, they spread quickly and can have devastating effects on crops and the environment. The U.S. Department of Agriculture as well as individual state agencies track the presence of spotted lanternflies. While they may not be able to respond to individual reports, understanding the spread of this invasive species is key to developing an appropriate response.
How to Identify Spotted Lanternflies
As their name suggests, spotted lanternflies have spots on both their forewings and hindwings. Their forewings are brown with black spots and their hind wings are red with black spots. These features are by far the easiest ways to figure out if you are dealing with a spotted lanternfly. They are around 1 inch long and have black bodies. If you are unsure, you can snap a photo of the insect and include it in your report for the most accurate tracking.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/arlutz73
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