The spotted lanternfly, a voracious leaf-gobbling terror, has unfortunately made its grand, uninvited entrance into the Bay State. Forewarned is forearmed, they say, and we at East Coast Tree Service believe in equipping you with the knowledge to keep your living landscape healthy and vibrant.
As Andover’s reliable tree service company, our crew knows a thing or two about the spotted lanternfly in Massachusetts. Keep reading as we break down the nitty-gritty details, from identification to effective management strategies.
Identifying the Spotted Lanternfly
Give your garden a careful once-over, and you might spot this dastardly invader. Here’s what it looks like during different life stages:
- Egg: If you’re eagle-eyed, you might spot clusters of grayish, waxy eggs on the barks of trees, particularly on the trunk and low branches. These clay-like masses may look innocuous, but they’re the equivalent of ticking time bombs for your foliage.
- Nymph: In the nymph stage, it looks like a black and white spotted insect, which metamorphoses into a vibrant red with white spots in its final nymphal instar.
- Adult: The adult spotted lanternfly sports a greyish-brown body and enticingly patterned wings — a misleading allure for a destructive pest.
Check Your Most Vulnerable Specimens
The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources warns that Holyoke, Worcester Shrewsbury, Fitchburg, and Springfield currently face massive infestations. If you’re in these areas, your garden might need extra care.
Certain tree varieties like the Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima), grapevines, apple trees, and stone fruit trees are most at risk, being the preferred buffets for these pests. Also on their hit list are valuable hardwood species such as walnut, oak, and maple trees.
Keep an eye out for these warning signs that the invasive spotted lanternfly has marked its territory in one of your specimens:
- Black or gray trails along the bark
- Branch dieback and thinning crowns
- Sticky honeydew coating the stems and leaves
- Wilting foliage
Conquering the Menace
Follow these tried and tested strategies to help you stand your ground against the spotted lanternfly in Massachusetts:
- During late fall and early spring, look for egg masses and destroy them with soapy water or alcohol
- Install sticky bands around infected tree trunks to trap nymphs and adults
- Spray natural insecticides like neem solution
- Remove preferred hosts if you don’t have an emotional attachment to them
- Always check your vehicles and outdoor equipment for any sneaky hitchhikers before you leave an affected area
Consult a Certified Arborist
This insect multiplies with alarming speed, making it a formidable foe for any gardener. In the blink of an eye, one fly can turn into a full-blown outbreak, wreaking havoc on your beloved greenery. That’s where we step in.
At East Coast Tree Service, we bring tailor-fit solutions to eliminate an existing infestation and, more importantly, prevent future invasions. Call our professionals at (781) 518-8014 today!
Aside from the spotted lanternfly in Massachusetts, the box tree moth also threatens our rich biodiversity. Read more about it in our blog.