Nosy Neighbor: What is being done about the spotted lantern flies?

E. wrote: “Curious, do we have anyone working on the imminent return of these awful creatures? They are predicted to be just as bad this year; I’ve done a lot of research and it seems like putting these sticky things (the non-toxic ones) around the base of trees is the best way to eliminate the problem before it starts. If we don’t have this actively on any agenda for coverage, is there a way we can draw attention to this and prepare properly? Apparently there’s also a way to scrape egg masses off tree bark with a flat-edged tool and dispose of them.”

I had not planned on any coverage! But since E. lives in Battery Park City, I checked with Nick Sbordone. (I also checked with NYC Parks, and the lead for the city is the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, which has theses tips for homeowners (or maybe I should say tree stewards) here. In fact, E. spotted some “circle traps” in the Village; that’s his photo below.)

So Battery Park City uses a three-pronged approach with the bird safe adhesive, the scraper and the vacuum pack:

  • In the spring and summer months they use traps as way to draw in and catch the insects. You’ll see these traps affixed to trees throughout the neighborhood (the one below is outside Parks Operations HQ @ 75 Battery Place). They also use bird-safe sticky tape on trees throughout the parks to monitor the population – these assist in catching SLF nymphs before they reach adult stage later in the summer, as described under the “Spotted Lanternfly Management” explanation here.
  • The battle continues in the fall and winter as well. During this period, they scout out and remove egg masses by scraping and/or vacuuming them from trees wherever they see them throughout the parks. Scouting, scraping, and destroying these egg masses are important ways of reducing their numbers and minimizing how many eggs will hatch in the spring; to date they’ve scraped off approximately 300 egg masses across Battery Park City. You can read more about these efforts under the “Tragic beauties” heading here, and see a picture of the vacuum pack along with the “Those Stubborn Spotteds” heading here. You can also see the team in action with a scraper here (see the “Spotting Spotted Lanternflies” heading).
  • How you can help: If you find any Spotted Lanternflies, dead or alive, please take a picture and upload it to BPCA’s iNaturalist page to record and report your sighting (and it’s okay to squish them too!). Your photo will be automatically sent to BPCA staff to help inform our control efforts and battle against the bug.


1 Comment

  1. If you are planning to use glue traps on your own trees, be sure you use he bird safe ones. Birds can get stuck on regular glue traps and will die.