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REVISED: Spotted Lanternfly Alert

Post Date:06/25/2020 4:30 PM

This article has been revised to include information on how to avoid bycatch when using sticky bands on tree to catch Spotted Lanternfly (SLF).

Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) is a serious problem in Lower Merion Township and we need your help to combat this invasive pest! Native to China and Southeast Asia, SLF presents a significant threat to Pennsylvania’s agricultural industry, as well as to natural areas and residential landscapes. Though harmless to people, SLF causes serious damage in trees and other plants by feeding on the sap of hardwoods, fruit trees, grapes, roses and many other plants. Right now, SLF are visible as black nymphs with white spots and are about the size of a pinky fingernail. 

Spotted Lanternfly nymphs to adults
Spotted Lanternfly from Nymphs to Adults

Spotted Lanternfly Nymph
Spotted Lanternfly Nymph


  1. Shake branches or stems to knock SLF nymphs into a bucket of water to drown them.
  2. Use a SHOP VAC to scoop SLF nymphs up and then destroy them.
  3. Spray SLF nymphs with a mixture of biodegradable soap (such as Dawn, Seventh Generation or Method brand) and water.
    • 1 T per Quart or 5 T per Gallon of water
  4. Use a strip of packing tape in your hand to grab SLF nymphs around stems and branches, and squish them.
  5. Wrap sticky bands around tree trunks to stop them.
    • When banding for SLF, it is possible that you may accidentally trap nontarget animals, including beneficial insects, small mammals (bats, squirrels, etc.), small birds, and lizards. One option is to reduce the width of the band, thereby reducing the surface area that a non-target animal encounters. Another option it to build a guard over the band out of wire (fencing, such as chicken wire, or mesh, such as window screening) to prevent larger animals from contacting the sticky surface.


Don’t use vinegar, lighter fluid, gasoline or household cleaners to spray them. These liquids are damaging to plants and harmful to our groundwater system.


Spotted Lanterfly four stages
Spotted Lanternfly four stages