How do spotted lanternflies damage trees? If you’re worried about this invasive species wreaking havoc on your beautiful backyard oases, your concerns are entirely valid.
As the go-to tree service in Fort Myers, FL, our team at Island Tree Service knows how to identify and address our local flora’s most formidable foes. Keep reading as we highlight the crucial details that can help protect your living landscape.
Narrowing Down the Culprits
Plant pests come in all shapes and sizes, so how do you distinguish between your everyday garden variety bugs and this particular tree-munching menace? You might have a spotted lanternfly infestation if you notice these symptoms:
- Wilting branches
- Sap oozing from the bark
- Sooty mold loitering around your tree’s base
- Unusual clusters of grayish eggs
- Red spots marring the plant surface
- An increase in bee and wasp activity, drawn to the lanternfly’s sweet secretions
Spotted lanternflies themselves have a distinctive appearance. They are about an inch long with eye-catching wings that sport splotchy patterns of black, red, and white.
How Spotted Lanternflies Deal Tree Damage
How do spotted lanternflies damage trees? They might not directly kill their host, but their actions undoubtedly lay the groundwork for a slow, yet relentless, destruction. The sneaky insects are sap suckers, gathering on your tree’s leaves, twigs, and bark to feast on its life-giving fluids.
As they feed, they excrete a sticky sap known as honeydew. This substance attracts other harmful pests and promotes the growth of a black fungus, sooty mold, which further damages the tree.
These tree species are particularly at risk:
Does your garden boast any of these prized plants? Regular inspections and prompt action can nip the lanternfly problem in the bud.
What To Do Next
If you’ve spotted these plant pilferers in your yard, don’t panic just yet. There’s a suite of solutions at your disposal.
When autumn rolls around, these tree tormentors lay their eggs on the tree’s trunk, lower branches, and nearby flat surfaces. Don your garden gloves, grab a sturdy scraper, and get to work.
Gently remove the eggs without injuring the bark, then squash them or soak them in alcohol or hand sanitizer. It’s a hands-on approach, but it can protect your specimens from future damage.
Sticky traps are as straightforward as they sound. You wrap the trunk with a band of sticky tape that will ensnare any insects that decide to crawl up or down the tree.
A word of caution, though: check on your traps regularly. You wouldn’t want to unintentionally trap any friendly critters. Installing a wire or mesh cage around the sticky trap can prevent unintended consequences.
Applying chemical products is an effective strategy, though often a last resort to control lanternfly populations. Depending on the severity of the infestation and the health of your trees, a well-timed spray might be the only way to save your green giants.
Consult a Local Tree Health Specialist
How do spotted lanternflies damage trees? The agricultural impact of these infestations is concerning, but you’re not fighting this battle alone. If your yard is under the siege of these sap-sucking saboteurs, Island Tree Service has you covered.
Our proficient crew can inspect your property to identify the extent of the infestation and the potential damage already inflicted. Armed with the necessary knowledge, we’ll tailor a treatment plan that suits your specific situation like a glove.