22 August 2023
Invasive spotted lanternflies are swarming over Pittsburgh right now, especially near the railroad tracks. Everyone wants to kill them but the first solution that comes up on any Google search is a very, very bad one. NEVER EVER use sticky tape to capture insects. Glue tape kills birds!
Audubon News, the source of the embedded photo above, wrote about the hazards of glue tape last March: Meant to Catch Spotted Lanternflies, Glue Traps Are a Horrifying Hazard for Birds. Only 10% of the trapped birds survive, even if they’re taken to a rehabber.
Raven Ridge Wildlife Center in Lancaster County, PA has years of experience with the harm caused by glue tape. This Facebook report from 17 August 2023 is just one of them. Three of the four trapped woodpeckers died and the fourth is in trouble.
So what can you do to kill lanternflies?
For trees use the Circle Trap. You can make it yourself. Instructions found here.
For home, make a simple vinegar trap :
Straight white vinegar plus dish liquid — maybe a 1/2 tsp — to break the surface tension. (Insect by-catch in this photo: a cicada.) Thanks to John English for this suggestion.
For personal combat there are lots of solutions: Electric “Tennis Racket” bug zappers, the Bug a Salt Gun, etc. found via Amazon searches.
Watch a champion spotted lanternfly killer use these tools in a video from VICENews:
video from VICENews on YouTube
p.s. Why are spotted lanternflies more prevalent near railroad tracks? They arrived as egg masses stuck to railcars and hatched from there. Their host tree is the Ailanthus, an invasive weed that grows along the rail lines. They were first found in southwestern PA at a rail yard in Beaver County in 2020.
(photo and video credits are in the captions)