Letter from the Editor Southeastern Pennsylvania Nature is a quarterly magazine intended to connect the residents of the region with nature through local stories, research, events, and recreational activities. This is a magazine for those who stop to smell the roses, and then wonder where those roses came from, how they interact in the environment, and what we as a community can and should do to protect them. The goal of this publication is to give people insight into our natural environment in Southeastern Pennsylvania, from a variety of perspectives – personal, scientific, economic, and any others we can seek out. SEPA Nature appreciates the beauty and wonder of our native flora and fauna, but also wants to understand its plight, what it needs from us, its dynamic shifts. This magazine is my brainchild - I am an artist-turned-scientist currently pursuing a graduate education at Temple University. It combines my love of the natural world, of the aesthetics of nature and of knowledge. One thing I’ve realized through my graduate education is that too few people are connected with the research that is happening right in their own backyard, especially when it comes to ecology and the environment. We may see things change in our local environment, see animals come and go, see occasional news stories on the state of our water or air quality, but rarely are these things explained in depth. I believe that a greater understanding of our environment, the research being conducted in our region, and the inner workings of our environmental agencies will help connect people with nature and inspire change for the better. I don’t know about you, but I am my most calm and conscious when surrounded by nature, breathing in fresh air and listening to the sounds of the outdoors. The natural environment gives us everything we need to survive; it provides perspective and awe. It is our responsibility to protect what remains wild and natural on our planet – both for our own sake, and out of compassion for the other estimated nine million species on the planet. So let’s get started! The first edition of SEPA Nature is devoted to a recently arrived pest – the Spotted Lanternfly. A plant-hopper that made its appearance in Pennsylvania in 2014, the Spotted Lanternfly is an invasive insect that has been gaining rapid attention due to the magnitude of its impact and spread. Once introduced this agricultural pest quickly grew in number and has spread across county and state lines, aided by human transportation. There have been many stories that have made it into the media about the Spotted Lanternfly, some accurate, some exaggerated. But in this edition of SEPA Nature we’ve interviewed knowledgeable experts in our region, and found the most up-to-date and reliable sources available to assemble useful and accurate information on the Spotted Lanternfly infestation of Southeastern PA. Please access any of the sources provided in the articles to find even more in-depth information on this invasive pest, and let’s work together to limit its impact! Thank you for reading, and enjoy the first edition of SEPA Nature.
Kelly P. Franklin
Table of Contents 4
Thereâ€™s a Bug in Our Wine
Where on Earth did it Come From?
Deck the Halls, Without Fear Viewpoints: Impacts of the Lanternfly on PA Wildlife
Kidsâ€™ Coloring Book Page
Illustrations by Kelly P. Franklin
On the cover:
A deceased Spotted Lanternfly with outstretched wings Photograph by Lawrence Barringer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.org
Thereâ€™s a Bug in Our Wine And itâ€™s taking over Pennsylvania vineyards like a plague By: Kelly P. Franklin
A spotted lanternfly feeds on the trunk of a grape vine at the Bishop Estates Winery in Bucks County, PA. Photograph by Kelly P. Franklin
n quiet vineyards across Southeastern Pennsylvania, the faint flapping of insect wings becomes a hum of destructive activity. Heather Leach, a Penn State Extension Associate specializing in the Spotted Lanternfly, stands in a long row of grapevines converging on the horizon, quite a distance away. Her eyes aren’t gazing over the serene landscape, though, they are locked upward, as is her camera, as she films dozens of Spotted Lanternflies haphazardly careening down and colliding with the vines that flank her. There is no grace or delicacy to their approach and landing.
They tumble through the air - flashes of red and white wings, with black spots - until they ricochet to a stop. One after another, without a breath of air between them, they bounce off of leaves and each other, making distinctive sounds like twigs falling through a canopy. “It really feels like a plague,” Leach says. “It feels like this unstoppable force and the growers are exhausted from it.” Leach works primarily with grape growers. She tries to understand the behavior and distribution of the invasive pest, to help vineyards combat the daily onslaught of bugs that they’re currently
experiencing. In fact, on a weekly basis she can be found on 10 different farms scouting for the Spotted Lanternfly and working with growers to manage it. According to Leach, her presence serves two purposes. It “is giving us some really great information on [the insect’s] behavior and spatial distribution, but it’s also giving growers weekly updates of what’s happening in their vineyards.” Although media coverage of the Spotted Lanternfly may seem unremitting these past few years, this doesn’t ensure that accurate information regarding ideal pest management practices
Rows of grape vines at Bishop Estates Winery in Bucks County, PA. This vineyard lies within the quarantine zone for the Spotted Lanternfly in Pennsylvania. Photograph by Zach Prediger.
reaches each affected vineyard. Why is so much of her attention spent on vineyards? That is partially answered by the fact that, according to Leach, “At this point, the most hit agricultural product is grapes.” In some cases, they have recorded “40 acres of dead vines.” Leach adds that the damage she is seeing is “really, really striking.” While the Spotted Lanternfly is not a specialist – to the contrary, it feeds on over 70 different species – the effect of the insect feeding on other trees has been less dramatic thus far.
“In terms of immediate impact, it’s certainly the vineyards and the grape growers that are getting hit.” Leach points out that though there is an ongoing risk to other types of fruiting trees, nursery trees, and agricultural products, the wine industry is the one currently experiencing the most staggering losses as a result of this pest.
Spotted Lanternfly are hemipteran insects (“true bugs”) with a “piercing, sucking mouth-part” that extracts the sap from a plant, as a mosquito would imperceptibly remove our blood. There are different
levels of damage that they can cause to grapevines, depending on the quantity of insects present, and on the temperature. Although it may seem strange that the impact of an insect depends on temperature, this is commonly seen with insects considered “indirect feeders” like the Spotted Lanternfly. Unlike “direct feeders,” such as gypsy moths that have “chewing mouth-parts” capable of defoliating a tree, the Spotted Lanternfly feeds on sap internal to the plant, producing no immediate visible effects. The impact of this process isn’t always attributed to the insect, and may be seen much later than that of their direct feeding relatives. “From what we understand right now in grapevines, we get really high levels of lanternfly feeding on that plant sap, and they basically just deplete the resources for the plant, and they make it so that it’s not able to effectively overwinter,” Leach explained. “What we’re seeing from heavy lanternfly infestation is that they’re actually
Spotted Lanternflies dot the grape vines at Bishop Estates Winery. They appeared recently in the US and pose a serious threat to grape vines. Photographs by Kelly P. Franklin
“It really feels like a plague. It feels like this unstoppable force, and the growers are exhausted from it.” - Heather Leach -
Penn State Extension Associate Lanternfly Specialist killing the vines in combination with that cold period.” According to Leach, this happens in stages, “the first thing is that you lose some of your fruiting buds, then you might start to lose some of your vegetation buds - so you might lose half of the grape vine, but the trunk is still going. And the most extreme is when you actually get that trunk freezing, and that’s when you see the trunk split, and it just doesn’t come back.” The most extreme outcome is what Leach has seen “in really scary numbers.” She continues, “there’s growers that have lost considerable amounts of acreage, some growers have gone completely out of business, other growers who were planning to replant in the spring, or expand their vineyard are
now delaying that because they feel like it’s too risky to plant new vines when there’s a bug that could potentially destroy everything.” Understanding the role of vineyards, as well as other at risk nursery operations, in the Pennsylvania economy puts these losses in perspective. According to the Penn State Extension, the grape, tree-fruit, hardwood and nursery industries – those that are impacted by the Spotted Lanternfly – contribute nearly $18 billion to the state’s economy. Although the direct financial burden imposed on the industry by this pest has yet to be analyzed, preliminary data shows that grape growers are spending
considerably more on insecticides to treat for the invasive pest. The Spotted Lanternfly arrived in Pennsylvania in 2014, but its population didn’t take off until 2017, and farmers responded in the way they would to most pests – with more insecticides. In 2016, before the Lanternfly population exploded, grape growers were spending an average of $54 an acre on insecticides. That figure over-doubled by 2018 when grape growers were spending an average of $147 an acre on insecticides. And the increase in spraying didn’t only take a toll on their bottom lines, it also required many more hours of labor. The insecticides used by most grape growers kill pests on immediate contact only. Growers favor these products
because they eliminate the chance that any residue will remain on the grapes or in the environment for too long. It is especially useful close to harvest, when the goal is to avoid any chemical residue and gather perfect grapes destined to become Pennsylvania wine. Unfortunately for growers, harvest coincides with the time of year that lanternflies are swarming, and the largest numbers of adults congregate on the vines. The image described at the start of this article can be seen at vineyards across the Spotted Lanternfly quarantine zone – 14 counties in Pennsylvania, and 9 in New Jersey – during this period. For two months, starting at the end of August, Spotted Lanternflies swarm vineyards, and growers see “constantly increasing
Several different types of wine grapes are grown at Bishop Estate Winery, and all are susceptible to attack by the Spotted Lanternfly. Photographs by Zach Prediger.
levels of Spotted Lanternfly on the vine throughout the day.” Adult lanternflies living in the woodline around vineyards climb to the tops of trees, jump off, and drift on the wind to nearby grape vines. The individual insects found on the vines in the morning are sprayed with insecticide and die on contact. “And then a couple of hours later you come back to the vineyard, and it’s almost like the same levels, if not more,” Leach says from experience. This is why Leach feels as if this infestation is like a plague. A never ending supply of locustlike insects adrift in the breeze, buzzing toward our vineyards, prepared to rob our plants of their lifeblood, and our grape growers of their livelihoods.
Despite the dire outlook, there is still hope in combating the invasion. Several institutions have recently received a grant for $7.3 million to collaboratively research solutions to the Spotted Lanternfly problem. Penn State will lead the project, aided by Temple University, Rutgers, Cornell, and Virginia Tech, among others. The project includes an impressive group of universities and organizations in states where Spotted Lanternfly sightings have occurred, and quarantines have been put in place. Leach feels optimistic about the research that will be conducted under this grant, “Hopefully... we will get a lot of really significant, great work done, and really come up with some awesome research. We’re all pretty excited about that.”
Illustration by Kelly
Illustration by Kelly P. Franklin
The Spotted Lanternfly originated from Northern China. Until the 1930s, the species was only distributed in two Chinese provinces. It now has nationwide coverage, and has also been distributed to Taiwan, and Vietnam. The Spotted Lanternfly has been known as a medicinal insect in China since the Twelfth Century. It was used to relieve swelling.
From China, the Spotted Lanternfly was first transported to Japan in the 1930s. Though only since 2009 had sudden outbursts of populations been seen in Japan. In 2004, the invasive pest was discovered in Korea where it became a major pest of grapes. It brought about serious economic losses through damage caused to grapevines and through spreading sooty mold disease.
By: Kelly P. Franklin
he Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) is an invasive planthopper that feeds on the life-sustaining sap in plants that bring sugars and carbohydrates down from the leaves to the roots. As a hemipteran, it has “piercing, sucking mouth-parts” used in the extraction of sap. Because they don’t feed directly on the foliage of plants, negative impacts take longer to appear and are often delayed until winter or until harsh environmental
conditions arise. As a result, documenting the impact of the insect can be quite difficult. The insect is native to Northern China, where historic record indicates it appeared in two distinct provinces. In China, the insect was revered for its perceived medicinal use in relieving swelling. Before the 1930s, there was no record of movement for the Spotted Lanternfly, although, today the insect can be found throughout China, Taiwan and Vietnam; presumably sometime
between the 1930s and today, populations were distributed across the country and beyond. The first recorded transport of the Spotted Lanternfly occurred in Japan in the 1930s. However, only a few individuals were documented after that point; establishment wasn’t considered to be successful until 2009 when people began to witness sudden population outbursts. This prompted researchers to compare the molecular makeup of Spotted Lanternflies to determine the origin
of the new colonies. The source population of insects from which the Japanese colony was established came from China. The same was true for the population in Korea, which was first documented in 2004. The Spotted Lanternfly has been a terrible pest of grapevines in Korea, causing substantial financial losses. Most of what we understand about the insect’s impact on grapevines comes from the extensive research done in South Korea on the
Although itâ€™s unknown how the insect arrived, Spotted Lanternfly are excellent hitchhikers. In September of 2014, Lawrence Barringer with the PA Department of Agriculture was the first to document the invasive insect in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Despite instating a quarantine rather rapidly, there are not 14 counties in Pennsylvania, 3 in New Jersey, 1 in Virginia, 1 in Delaware and 1 in Maryland that have populations of the Spotted Lanternfly. Recently a shipment of poinsettias arrived in Boston carrying dead Spotted Lanternflies demonstrating that the insect does find its way into shipping containers, and can be moved long distances this way. Illustration by Kelly P. Franklin
Where on Earth did it Come From? Background on the Spotted Lanternfly pest when its effects were being measured in the country. On September 22 2014, the Spotted Lanternfly appeared in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Discovered by Lawrence Barringer of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, the infestation was still in its infancy at the
time. Since 2014, the United States has expanded the quarantine zone numerous times, and it now includes 14 counties in Pennsylvania, 3 counties in New Jersey, 1 county in Virginia, 1 in Delaware and 1 in Maryland. A few sightings have also been made in New York, Maryland, and Connecticut, but no
established populations have been documented in those states as of yet. There are numerous organizations working to limit the spread and the impact of the Spotted Lanternfly. Among them are the Penn State Extension, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, the US Department of Agriculture,
and several Integrated Pest Management organizations from states in the Mid-Atlantic. For those located in Southeastern Pennsylvania, the Penn State Extension offers an invaluable resource to find out more information about impact, spread and management of the Spotted Lanternfly.
To learn more about this insect please visit: https://extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly
There’s no need to worry about the Spotted Lanternfly this season, unless you’re a Christmas tree grower. “Real trees this Christmas can lead to eggs hatching in your home.” “Could the Spotted Lanternfly be lurking in your Christmas Tree this year?”
These are some really catchy headlines; but the reality is, they are inaccurate, and only serve to hurt Christmas tree growers at the most wonderful time of the year. “Spotted Lanternfly could be on your Christmas tree this holiday season.”
“Spotted Lanternfly, a Christmas tree superbug, could destroy New York parks.”
“A real . tree at Christmas could lead to a real nasty mess in your living room with the encroaching Spotted Lanternfly.”
By : Kelly P. Franklin
he Spotted Lanternfly is hurting the Christmas tree industry in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, but surprisingly it’s not the bug’s fault. Nurseries and
Christmas tree growers have been forced on the defensive since the media went on a yule tide lanternfly blitz. Headlines like the ones shown above have come out seasonally for the
past few years, and deter shoppers from buying real Christmas Trees. Any reader would expect there to be a serious issue with Spotted Lanternfly infestations of pine trees, when seeing these
Christmas tree growers like AGA Farms in Bucks County, PA have experienced losses from the quarantine and media coverage concerning the Spotted Lanternfly. Photograph by Zach Prediger
headlines. But according to Heather Leach, Penn State Extension Associate specializing in the Spotted Lanternfly, these stories are nothing more than “a bunch of really damning articles that are
completely inaccurate.” Leach laments, “People like to write those kinds of stories, but they don’t realize how much it can actually impact a grower.” In reality, “Spotted Lanternfly don’t feed on pine trees,” says Leach. In fact, they’re not even a preferred host of the insect. Native to China, the Spotted
Lanternfly prefers the Tree-of-Heaven, an invasive species originating from the same area. This invasive plant was originally introduced in 1784 in the Philadelphia region and
was brought by admirers to other areas of the United States, including the West Coast. It has since become a common invasive species across the country. The plant now
attracts large numbers of Spotted Lanternfly as a primary food source, and mating and egg-laying location. Despite the multitude of articles written about the subject, Leach says that Lanternfly eggs hatching on a Christmas tree in someone’s home
“People like to write those kinds of stories, but they don’t realize how much it can actually impact a grower.” - Heather Leach -
Penn State Extension Associate Lanternfly Specialist
“happened once in 2017.” Leach tells the story of a “New Jersey woman who came to Pennsylvania to buy a Christmas tree; she brought it back to New Jersey, and kept it inside her house. She had six nymphs hatch out in the winter.” The woman reported the six bugs, and the media ran with it. With no food source indoors, the nymphs “hatch and die.” They don’t feed on the pine tree that they came in on, and they definitely don’t have any interest in pets, children, or Christmas gifts. The Penn State Extension states on their website that “although unlikely that Spotted Lanternfly eggs will be on Christmas trees, if they were to hatch indoors the nymphs pose no threat to humans or animals, and will die quickly.” The bigger issue, Leach says, is “that most people aren’t going to leave their tree inside for two and a half months like this person did. Most people are going to dispose of their tree in their backyard, and if those eggs haven’t hatched yet, and you took it outside of the quarantine zone, then you could spread the population.” Literature about Illustrations by Kelly Franklin
the Spotted Lanternfly from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture states that “the Spotted Lanternfly overwinters in egg masses laid on smooth bark, stone, and other flat surfaces. The first of four immature stages, or instars, beg[ins] emerging from the egg masses in mid-May.” The real threat lies in discarding a tree outside of the quarantine zone. If an egg mass is overlooked, then an individual tree could be responsible for spreading a population of Spotted Lanternfly into a new territory. But the issue for growers isn’t just in the ability to sell trees to local patrons. The overwhelming media coverage, combined with the quarantine (first instated in 2014) has Christmas tree buyers from across state lines spooked, and has made out of state sales nearly impossible. “There’s a lot of Pennsylvania Christmas tree growers who ship their Christmas trees out of state for other people, and they’ve had issues with being stopped at the border; the inspections taking a long time, and then they can’t sell their Christmas Trees on time,” says Leach.
The process becomes so time consuming, that “once they finally do get approved to be sold, it’s too late.” Although Leach applauds the caution that other states are using in dealing with items coming from the quarantined zone, she acknowledges that “there’s certainly implications, and some people that are having losses because of it.” “Even though these nursery operations are certified - they have the Spotted Lanternfly permit, and they’re really doing everything they can to inspect, and make sure they don’t have lanternfly - they have lost outstanding numbers of customers,” says Leach. Between the losses of customers in-state due to exaggerated media coverage, and the losses out of state as a result of strict quarantine practices, Christmas tree growers could use some positive publicity to help restore their reputation, and replace missing markets. Thankfully the team at the Penn State Extension is prepared to spread some holiday cheer. Leach feels “really confident” about the ability of Christmas tree growers in dealing with
the Spotted Lanternfly. “They have a really great association. They can get the information out to the growers really quickly, so they now have standard protocol for treating for Spotted Lanternfly, and inspecting their trees for Spotted Lanternfly.” The Penn State Extension advises those who are still concerned about buying a real Christmas tree to “inspect the tree prior to purchase. Spotted lanternfly egg masses are visible on the bark if present, and can be easily removed.” Both the Penn State Extension, and the Pennsylvania Christmas Tree Growers Association are working hard to combat exaggerated headlines, and provide accurate information about real threats posed by the Spotted Lanternfly. This season many people will purchase real Christmas trees from growers across Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and few if any will find signs of the Spotted Lanternfly. But how many others will read the hyped up headlines, and forgo the smell of a beautiful blue spruce in favor of a plastic alternative? For the sake of the growers, hopefully very few.
SPOT TED L ANTE A chronological look at the invasion, establishment In 2017, 12 more counties are added to the quarantine zone in Pennsylvania. It becomes evident that the travel potential of this insect is quite high. Although they only have an estimated spread of 10 miles a year, lanternflies hitch rides on various forms of transportation, and are brought to farther areas then they could reach independently.
2017 2014 September 22, 2014, the first documented sighting of the Spotted Lanternfly occurs. It is in Berks, County Pennsylvania, where a small population has established. The county is soon quarantined, given the severe agricultural consequences of the Spotted Lanternfly, in South Korea.
Illustrations by Kelly Franklin
2018 The Spotted Lanternfly has traveled across state lines into New Jersey, Delaware and Virginia. All three states issue quarantines for goods coming out of the newly infested counties. Jumps like the one seen into Virginia demonstrate the lanternflyâ€™s ability to use human transportation to spread. Itâ€™s the only means of travel over such long distances for leaf-hopping insects that jump, and sail on the wind rather than fly.
RNFLY INVASION & spread of the Spotted Lanternfly in North America. There are now 14 counties in Pennsylvania in the Quarantine Zone, 3 counties in New Jersey, 1 in Virginia, 1 in Delaware, and 1 in Maryland. The map on the right is created by the New York Integrated Pest Management Program and represents external quarantines imposed by New York on states with populations of the Spotted Lanternfly.
Map of the external quarantine zone by the New York Integrated Pest Management Program (NYIPM)
The tactics used to combat the invasive pest take a toll on our native fauna. By: Kelly Franklin
or those that enjoy being immersed in nature, part of that love stems from the frenzy of activity that can be found outside. Catching a glimpse of movement in the trees out of the corner of your eye, staying still and silent, watching to see if you can make out the source of your intrigue – it feels mysterious and exhilarating, despite the tranquil setting. Bird watchers know this feeling well. They spend hours, days, trying to track down interesting, beautiful and
elusive species just to take a peek inside their world for a brief moment. Photographers capture images of animals that we don’t often get to see in our day to day lives and provide us with a bit more understanding of the world around us. But we know that everything we do isn’t benefiting the species that we share space with, in fact, many of our actions are detrimental. Spraying pesticides, clearing land, eliminating natural
Photograph by Kelly Franklin
habitat, over-hunting, these are just a few of the ways that we’ve driven species extinctions in our past and today. Compared with the background extinction rate – the amount of species that would naturally go extinct without human involvement – modern human-induced extinction is 10 to 100 times higher, according to an article published in the journal Science in 2015. We can
see what this means for birds through a recent analysis published in Science in September 2019. In it, the author Kenneth Rosenberg states that we have seen a “net loss approaching 3 billion birds or 29% of 1970 abundance.” The authors of the article go on to discuss the severity of this loss by saying that “Population loss is not restricted to rare and threatened species, but
includes many widespread and common species that may be disproportionately influential components of food webs and ecosystem function,” including seed dispersal, pollination and pest control. This means that the frenzy of activity that we love in nature is slowing down, it’s disappearing. We’re not only losing those moments of excitement
and intrigue, but we’re losing all of the benefits derived from elusive and common birds alike. When our biodiversity suffers, we all suffer. Although the reasons for this decline aren’t the focus of the research in the 2019 Science article, the authors do offer a few
Red tailed hawk Photo by Becky Matsubara
Photograph by Kelly P. Franklin
proposed causes including “ habitat loss, agricultural intensification, coastal disturbance, and direct anthropogenic mortality, all exacerbated by climate change.” While this sounds (and is) dire, in a Science Magazine article written by Elizabeth Pennisi, Rosenberg expresses that he is feeling “weirdly hopeful” of our ability to stop the decline in birds, and offers some advice
for all of us bird lovers – “simple steps such as keeping cats indoors, or planting native plants can help.” Land development, agricultural practices and coastal disturbance may be too overwhelming for us to face individually, however, by offering some recommendations for simple action to help protect birds, Rosenberg provides us with the ability to affect change in our own
environments. He reminds us that every positive action in support of our native wildlife works to combat these ongoing extinctions and helps protect our beloved nature for future generations. Key up the awards show music, because in this field, Michele Wellard deserves all of the hardware. Michele Wellard is a Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator, and
the Assistant Director of the Philadelphia Metro Wildlife Center, located in Norristown, PA. She works tirelessly day after day to rehabilitate injured or sick Southeastern Pennsylvania wildlife to be released back into the wild whenever possible. People call when they find injured animals that they’re unable to move, they come by in waves bringing injured or
“a red tailed hawk, which is insane, it shows “regular . how strong squirrels” this stuff is” “a flying squirrel, and he died in the struggle” Native Red Squirrel Photo by Kelly P.. Franklin
Native Flying Squirrel Photo by Kelly P. Franklin
“a lot of song birds, but mostly downy woodpeckers” Downy Woodpecker Photo by Indiana Ivy Kardokus
orphaned animals showing the diversity of Pennsylvania’s wildlife, the Animal Control department drops off unwanted house guests that they recently extracted from walls or under porches – work at the clinic is never done. In addition to Wellard, there are few staff members at the clinic, another Licensed Rehabilitator and the Executive Director, Rick Schubert, Director of Education, Jackie Kent and Business Manager Lisa Gruber. Otherwise the clinic is run on volunteer energy and experience.
I myself volunteered for Rick and Michele a few years ago, and it was an incredibly rewarding experience. There are many reasons why Pennsylvania wildlife ends up on Wellard’s doorstep, but one reason that has been appearing with increasing regularity has her exasperated. You may be wondering how you could have made it this far into an article in this magazine without encountering the Spotted Lanternfly. Well, this is where our antagonist makes its appearance.
Recently, many of the animals that have been delivered to the Philly Wildlife Metro Clinic have been stuck to a sticky glue trap that had been wrapped around the trunk of a tree. This type of trap has been recommended by many of the organizations working to fight the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly in Pennsylvania. And despite the many photos posted to facebook groups and institutional websites, the traps don’t only work to catch the Spotted Lanternfly. “We’ve had dozens
and dozens and dozens of animals stuck on these glue traps, mostly birds, mostly woodpeckers; but also just this week we had a flying squirrel, and he died in the struggle, a red tailed hawk, which is insane, it shows how strong this stuff is… And regular squirrels, but a lot of song birds, but mostly downy woodpeckers.” Wellard has put in many hours at the clinic trying to remove these beloved animals from the powerful adhesives used in these traps. Unfortunately “most of the time they don’t
“If you must use the sticky stuff, we recommend half-inch hardware cloth wrapped around it. Hardware cloth is a galvanized metal netting. It looks like netting, but it’s metal. And you can buy it at any hardware store. Wrap that around, leaving a half-inch gap so the insects can get under but non-target animals like birds and bats and flying squirrels will not get stuck.” - Michele Wellard -
Assistant Director of the Philadelphia Metro Wildlife Center Photograph by Lawrence Barringer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.org
make it,” usually for one of two reasons. Some animals don’t survive the glue traps because “the finder tries to get [the animal] off themselves.” Often the finder tries to coat the animal in oil attempting to combat the sticky adhesive, this is especially problematic for birds. According to Wellard, “the oil compromises the feathers, and a bird is only as good as its feathers. Feathers are not just decoration they’re the integrity of the bird.” Feathers allow a bird to “thermoregulate, they can’t keep their body temperature even in mild weather, without their feathers.” Sometimes “they don’t make it, because the struggle” of trying to escape is enough to stress the animal beyond its limits. A factor in the
survival of animals stuck to glue traps is the length of time that they have been in that state. Animals are prone to “exhaustion and dehydration” as well as stress that can wreak havoc internally. “It seems like the longer they were stuck the worse off they are.” So if you are using sticky traps, be sure to check the traps daily to ensure you’ve had no unintentional capture of our native fauna. Wellard recommends that anyone who finds an animal stuck to Spotted Lanternfly paper, “put paper on the exposed sticky stuff, so that it doesn’t get stuck any more, put it in a box and bring it to us. We have anesthesia, we have pain medicine, we have the know-how to move the little bones and the feathers, and they generally have a better outcome if we get them off.” Licensed wildlife rehabilitators are trained to work with these animals and can then care for them in a controlled environment if they need additional help after removal from the glue trap. This unintended consequence of capturing or injuring ‘non-target’ animals is sometimes referred to
as ‘by-catch.’ When you remove these animals from their environment, you do harm to the ecosystem to which they are inextricably linked. But there are ways to avoid this outcome, even while combating Spotted Lanternflies on your property. “There’s been some really innovative ways of killing spotted lanternflies coming out in the media, and on youtube, and going viral. So I would definitely, if you’re concerned about it, do some research,” says Wellard. The Penn State Extension offers some suggestions for homeowners working to eradicate the Spotted Lanternfly from their property. They list egg scraping, host tree removal and occasionally, in extreme circumstances, some chemical control. They do however suggest tree banding as well. But luckily Michele Wellard has advice for those who would like to continue to band the trees on their property. “if you must use the sticky stuff, we recommend half inch hardware cloth wrapped around it. Hardware cloth is like a galvanized metal netting, it looks like netting but its metal. And you can buy it at any hardware store. Wrap that around, leaving a half inch gap so the insects can get under but non-target animals like birds and bats and flying squirrels will not get
stuck.” She also had these ideas for anyone interested in promoting the wellbeing of our native fauna in their own back yards, “Leaving things as natural as possible like brush piles and native plants, keeping cats indoors or under supervision,” “putting things on your windows” to prevent birds from flying into them if that is an issue, and if you see a turtle slowly crossing the road “help them across.” A little bit of effort can go a long way toward protecting our native wildlife. And if you have questions or concerns about an animal? Give Michele a call. “Wildlife rehabilitators love answering those questions.” “If there’s something that people are specifically concerned about, like ‘why am I seeing this?’ or ‘Is this a concern?’ or ‘Is this dangerous?’ or ‘Does this animal need help?’ – we’re happy to talk about it over the phone.” We may have to come up with collective solutions to some of the larger issues facing our native flora and fauna, however, protecting native wildlife from a glue trap is one way that we can individually contribute to a healthier and more diverse ecosystem right in our own backyards.
Source Links: Science 2015: https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/1/5/e1400253 Science 2019: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/366/6461/120.abstract
Early Nymph S e e n A p r i l to Ju l y
S e e n Jul y to December
Seen S e pte m b e r to Ju ne
S P OT T E D L A N T E R N FLY
Tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima) preferred host of the Spotted Lanternfly
Late Nymph Seen Ju l y to S e pte m b e r
25 Illustration by Kelly Franklin
1 5 2 6 3 4 7 Do research about the Spotted Lanternfly to find out about its presence in your area.
If you would like to use glue bands around tree trunks, cover the band in hardware cloth. It’s available at all hardware stores and will protect native wildlife.
If you’re a home owner and business owner in the quarantine zone, get a Spotted Lanternfly permit by taking a free 2 hour training offered by the Penn State Extension.
Only use insecticides that are registered with the EPA and recommended by the Penn State Extension. Often, chemical control is not necessary.
Visit your local Christmas tree farm this holiday season and show that you’re not falling for exaggerated headlines.
If you live inside the quarantine zone, If you’re concerned about Spotted check your vehicle and possessions Lanternfly on your property, scrape egg every time you leave the quarantine masses in the fall & winter, swat any adults zone to ensure you’re not spreading or nymphs that you see and remove any the lanternfly population.
Links to all of the resources mentioned are listed on the Page 27.
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Don’t assume that the Spotted Lanternfly is not in your area. Find out and report it if you live outside of the quarantine zone. Don’t ignore the Spotted Lanternfly permitting program. Intentional movement could result in civil or criminal penalties or fines.
Don’t believe everything you read in the media about the Spotted Lanternfly. Some headlines can be exaggerated and hurt local businesses. Select reputable sources.
Don’t overreact to the presence of the Spotted Lanternfly on your property. Don’t call the Philadelphia Police Department about this pest. Instead alert correct agencies such as the Penn State Extension.
Avoid glue traps and other methods of Spotted Lanternfly control that can result in harm to other species. Use safe practices when trying to combat the lanternfly.
Do not use home remedies or homemade insecticides to treat for the Spotted Lanternfly. They can be unsafe and illegal.
Don’t forget to inspect and remove egg masses or insects from your vehicles and possessions before traveling outside the quarantine zone.
Links to Sites and Sources of Spotted Lanternfly Information: Penn State Extension Website: https://extension.psu.edu/ spotted-lanternfly
Movin What are to combat the By Kelly P. Franklin
PA Department of Agriculture: https://www.agriculture.pa.gov/ USDA - APHIS: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/ aphis/resources/pests-diseases/hungry-pests/the-threat/ spotted-lanternfly/spottedlanternfly Philadelphia Metro Wildlife Center: https://www.phillywildlife.org/ NY Integrated Pest Management: https://nysipm.cornell.edu/ environment/invasivespecies-exotic-pests/ spotted-lanternfly/
ever fear, we have professional entomologists on the case! And the things that they are researching vary from fungal pathogens to parasitic wasps. Heather Leach, Penn State Extension Associate specializing in the Spotted Lanternfly works closely with the researchers at Penn State which has a sizable Agricultural school and vested interest in seeing this pest eradicated. As of now, grape growers and other nursery operators are limited by the insecticides that they can use on their crops. “Right now growers are mostly using broad spectrum insecticides which are really effective, but of course there are also a lot of drawbacks to that, especially if you’re spraying a lot of them. And with the lanternfly
you really need to.” These insecticides impact more than just the Spotted Lanternfly and could eliminate beneficial insects like pollinators. Leach says that researchers are currently “working on some fungal pathogens that you can spray, and those are going to be more sensitive. They’re not just for lanternfly insects but at least they’re not going to build up in our water potentially, or kill other natural enemies or pollinators. They’re a little bit more selective.” These fungal pathogens target hemipteran insects like the Spotted Lanternfly and won’t affect our native biodiversity. They are additionally harmless to humans, since they are a pathogen of insects only. “We’re trying to understand what we can do on a landscape scale that goes
ng Forward our researchers working on Spotted Lanternfly Invasion? beyond just the vineyard - in the woodlot, or the neighbors woodlot, up to several miles out - to see if that will actually reduce that local population. And so this fungal pathogen will actually be a potential way that we can try that because it is considered much safer than broad spectrum insecticide,” Leach says. In addition to this fungal pathogen, research on introducing a parasitoid wasp that would target the egg masses of the Spotted Lanternfly is in the beginning stages. The wasp originates from the same region as the Spotted Lanternfly in China. However, the wasp is not a specialist, feeding only on the Spotted Lanternfly larvae, so rigorous testing must be done to evaluate any impacts it may have on
local hemipteran insects. “There’s a very long vetting process to make sure that whatever is to be released will be released safe, and that is ongoing. It’s really tricky, it’s going to take a while, and a lot of research funds.” Also, the wasp has no effect on humans or any species aside from hemipteran insects, but even so, researchers was to protect our native insects and will test outcomes with those in the species for years before the possibility of releasing the insect becomes a reality. And as Leach says, the benefits of that biological control would be immense, the method “represents probably the most sustainable, hands-off approach that we can take in the long term.”
Workers with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are our boots on the ground, so to speak. These two departments are “working together to target tree of heaven, which is one of [the Spotted Lanternfly’s] preferred host species,” says Leach. The departments all work together very closely and she receives updates from the government regularly on their progress. The PA Department of Agriculture and the USDA are focusing on “high priority areas, like along rail lines, rest stops, (and) certainly ports and airports.” These are areas where the threat of Spotted Lanternfly spreading beyond the quarantined areas are highest. Leach explains, “what they do is remove the majority of the tree of
heaven, and leave a couple standing, about 80% (are removed) depending on the area. And those remaining hosts become very attractive, because there’s not very many of them left, so lanternflies key in on those, and then they’re using a systemic insecticide… it soaks into the trunk, and then gets expressed throughout the entire tree. So when they feed on it, they then die.” Between research into more selective ways to rid our environment of the Spotted Lanternfly and the crew working to remove hosts and target areas of potential spread, agencies and universities are working overtime to try and control this ongoing threat to our livelihoods and our ecosystems.
Kidâ€™s Coloring Book Page Have an adult cut the pages out for you, and color in your own Spotted Lanternfly and Bug Squisher Badge!
And remember to stomp on these bugs when you see them outside to earn your Official Bug Squisher Badge! Be sure to ask an adult so you know it â€™s the right bug!
Southeastern Pennsylvania Nature is a quarterly magazine intended to connect the residents of the region with nature through local stori...