~Residents asked to remain vigilant~
The Urban Forest Management Team has been finding spotted lanternfly (SLF) in more areas throughout the County and are asking for the public’s help in lessening the number. The Maryland Department of Agriculture has been dealing closely with this pest and recently provided a training to County staff explaining that quick response is key to population control. At this time the adult stage of the SLF is emerging and will be laying egg masses in September and throughout the first few hard frosts. Vehicles are a major way the eggs and insects are spread around. Those vehicles parked near trees or forest edges have a greater chance of carrying an SLF hitchhiker.
Once SLF is detected, scraping and smashing egg masses can help to reduce the population. Another option is to vacuum nymphs and adults with a shop vac and scrape egg masses into a container of soapy water, as well as report sightings.
What you can do:
- If you find spotted lanternfly, please report your findings through the mobile app iNaturalist or call 703-324-5304.
- You can also report your findings by email at ReportSLF@fairfaxcounty.gov. Provide photos and an address with your report.
- After careful identification, trap or kill the insect, and scrape and smash the egg mass.
- Check your vehicles, trailers and mobile equipment (tractors, bobcats, etc.) before visiting other locations.
The insect feasts on more than 70 plant species, but its preferred host is the tree-of-heaven. In the Commonwealth the peach, apple, grape, and wine industries are most threatened. Spotted lanternfly has the potential to cause severe nuisance to residents by feeding on trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants in unusually large numbers and leaving a sticky, smelly mess when they leave. While plant mortality is not a widespread concern, the nuisance created by these insects could cause some reactionary behaviors, leading to unnecessary pesticide use and the potential removal of valuable tree canopy and other vegetation.