Spotted lanternflies on fig tree

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ezra.g....@gmail.com

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Jul 22, 2021, 3:43:01 PMJul 22
to Philadelphia Urban Farm Network
Hi All,

I'm a member of a community garden in South Philly where we have a beautiful fig tree producing quite a bit of fruit. Unfortunately there is a large tree of heaven right next to the garden that attracts many lanternflies. These lanternflies have now made there way to the fig tree. I'm rather inexperienced in dealing with lanternflies and wanted to see if anyone in this group knew how to best get rid of them. 
We use organic growing practices in the garden, so that eliminates using any sort of inorganic pesticides. The fig tree is also pretty bushy (it could use a proper pruning) so sticky tape traps would be very difficult to apply and/or remove. I've heard about soap/water/sugar mixtures to attract and trap the lanternflies. Any helpful suggestions welcome!
This is all under the assumption that lanternflies are harmful to fig trees. Either way, I'd like to get rid of as many of these invasive pests as possible.

With Gratitude,
Ezra

Christina Kostelecky

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Jul 22, 2021, 4:00:01 PMJul 22
to ezra.g....@gmail.com, Philadelphia Urban Farm Network
Have you seen the funnel/circle traps? [homemade version] They're safe for other birds/insects and highly effective.
I found a lot of success personally with a spray gun filled with saltwater mix. (I actually used a toy water gun so that I could get the higher spots I wouldn't normally reach from the ground). The water knocked them to the ground and I was easily able to stomp them.

Good luck!

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Michelle Niedermeier

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Jul 22, 2021, 6:22:09 PMJul 22
to ezra.g....@gmail.com, Philadelphia Urban Farm Network
Hi,

Penn State has a useful spotted lanternfly (SLF) website with current best management practices. It is regularly updated, as research is ongoing. 

SLF have been shown to kill tree-of-heaven (ToH) and grapevines, but no other plants or trees. They are known as plant-stressors, which is obviously not a good thing, but they haven't been shown to kill fig trees.

As for SLF biology -  at all life stages (other than while in the egg masses) they require food, and have a piercing mouthpart that relies on the turgor pressure of the plant to push the fluid from the stems/branches into the SLF in order to feed. So, setting out soap/water/sugar mixtures will not attract nor kill them (unless they fall in and drown!) because they cannot feed on it. I've attached a PDF of their lifecycle (one per year) for your reference. This year I saw my first adult on July 1st, but there are plenty of 4th instar nymphs out there still too.

There are directions for homemade circle traps available here and a good video here, and there are premade ones you can purchase from Great Lakes IPM.

If you choose to use sticky tape, then it is highly recommended that you use a wildlife barrier to prevent bycatch.

It is advised NOT to use homemade pesticides for SLF nor for pretty much every other pest issue. Just because something is safe for one purpose, doesn't mean it is safe for another purpose. Soap, salt, and other household items can have unintended consequences on non-target species, plants, soil, water, etc., when used not as intended. See here and here for more information.

Getting rid of the ToH would be useful in this battle, but that too can be tricky and DOES require a specific protocol and the use of an herbicide. 

In my own garden, I use an empty vitamin water bottle to catch them. If you hold the opening in front and slightly above them, they will likely jump right into the bottle (see attached photo). You can shake it and dump it out and then smash them, or put the bottle in the freezer, or dump the contents into a container of soapy water or rubbing alcohol to kill them. 

If you have any questions, you can also call the Philadelphia Co. Cooperative Extension office at 215-471-2200 and select the Master Gardener hotline for assistance.

Good luck!
Michelle


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On Thu, Jul 22, 2021 at 3:43 PM ezra.g....@gmail.com <ezra.g....@gmail.com> wrote:
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SLF Lifecycle.pdf

Maureen Breen

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Jul 23, 2021, 10:34:26 AMJul 23
to Philadelphia Urban Farm Network
I have SLFs on my fig with no Tree of Heaven near by. I do two things every morning - I shake the branches to get them off as my chickens stand under the tree to eat them and I wrap duct tape around my hand, sticky side out, and smack  the back of the SLF. They get stuck on the tape as the jump.
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