Oh My-Ailanthus!”

Posted on

From black instars to red to adult flies, the Spotted Lanternflies are quickly approaching their adult phase and the PlantVillage team is on top of it! Working closely with Don Seifrit, extension educator and Karen George, Master Gardener, we are continually collecting data from sticky bands down in the Reading and Lancaster areas. This past Wednesday, Annalyse and Pete went down again to capture more images and talk with locals on this pest.



In past visits, Annalyse and Pete helped count the nymphs on the sticky bands. Throughout one day, the maximum sticky bands they were able to replace was 19 with four people. However this past time we were able to re-band over 30 trees. How? With the help of our counting tool! Don Seifrit exclaimed, “I think the PlantVillage tool could be a really useful resource for those of us who perform research on SLF, whether they’re Extension professionals or homeowners or in industry. Arguably, the most difficult part of the banding effort is actually counting the nymphs, simply because of the extreme volume of nymphs that get stuck on bands. Anything that streamlines data collection is always a benefit." Unfortunately the iOS app will not be developed and released for a 2-3 months, so to allow for the tool to not go to  waste this season, people can email their images to plantvillage.slf@gmail.com following a specific format. If you are interested in this option for counting, send an initial email to receive a guide on how to collect images to be counted automatically.



We are currently seeing changes from 3rd instar to 4th instar. In fact, we even captured a video of one molting on a sticky band! See the link below. As the nymphs are getting larger and older, they are becoming stronger. Most of the time, 4th instars are able to crawl over or detach from the sticky bands where their younger versions could not. Not only is it displayed in the video we captured but also in the decreasing nymph numbers on bands.


As the nymphs begin to turn into adults it is important to remain vigilant and follow strict protocols for quarantined counties. Don Seifrit has some advice for homeowners. “Keep going with whatever you can do, even when it seems like your efforts aren’t paying off. It may seem insurmountable, but every little bit truly helps. Populations like this are exponential in their growth. A couple of insects killed this year can prevent hundreds in the future.”

Heart Heart icon