(WTAJ) — Spotted Lanternflies continue to pose a risk to agriculture in Pennsylvania as they spread across the state. While adult Spotted Lanternflies will die over the cold winter months, the eggs they leave behind will only continue the invasive species’ presence.
Spotted Lanternflies begin laying egg masses in September and can be found on any flat surface including trees, outdoor furniture, vehicles, camping equipment and more, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. The egg masses measure an inch to an inch and a half long, are grey or brown in color and can contain 30-50 eggs.
According to researchers at Penn State University, a female Spotted Lanternfly can lay at least two egg masses. The masses contain small rows of eggs and are covered in a mud-like substance that is believed to protect the eggs from predators and winter conditions before they hatch in the spring.
Like fully grown Spotted Lanternflies, the state department of agriculture is asking residents to destroy any egg masses that are found. While removing egg masses is the easiest way to combat the Spotted Lanternfly, here are some steps you should take to properly destroy them.
Identifying fresh vs. old egg masses:
Newly laid egg masses will look shiny and appear to have a waxy coating. Over time the masses will dry out and crack, according to the Penn State Extension. Older egg masses can lose their covering and expose the egg columns. Emergence holes can also be seen in older egg masses where nymphs have already hatched. Egg masses up to 2-years-old can still be found, according to researchers at Penn State.
Best places to find egg masses:
While Spotted Lanternflies will lay eggs on several surfaces, the first and most common place to start is trees. Egg masses can specifically be found on red maple, silver maple, and willow trees in the late season, according to researchers at Penn State. Spotted Lanternflies will also lay eggs on trees they do not heavily feed on such as black cherry and pine trees. More information about finding egg masses can be found on the Penn State Extension website.
How to remove and destroy egg masses:
The best method to destroy Spotted Lanternfly egg masses is by scraping them off using a plastic card or putty knife. The eggs must then be placed into a bag or container filled with rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer to properly kill them. Egg masses can also be smashed by applying even and hard pressure to the entire area. The eggs are properly smashed when they burst open.
A video tutorial on how to destroy spotted lanternfly egg masses can be found on the Penn State Extension website.
How to report egg masses:
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is tracking the spread of spotted lanternflies in the state. If you find a spotted lanternfly egg mass and wish to report it, the process is fairly simple. An online reporting tool by the department allows residents to input location data such as the address or GPS coordinates of where the egg masses are found. Details about the area and the surface the egg mass was found can also be provided.