During the COVID-19 pandemic of 2019-present, spotted lanternflies (Lycorma delicatula) have invaded several areas in the northeast region of the U.S. These invasive insects are discovered to have successfully transported larvae and nymphs on firewood trading shipments from China. This has resulted in the devastation of fruit trees and grape vineyards depleting nutients and decreasing the chances of survival by causing trunk wounds and tree mold to develop. This has the potential to devastate agricultural chains and disrupt ecosystems. The primary food source for these lanternflies in their native habitat is Ailanthus altissima, also known as the “Tree of Heaven” in China; however, this plant species is also an invasive species worldwide. The lanternfliescan also eat a variety of other fruit trees from orchards in rural areas in America. Proposals for managing these invasive insects including capturing and returning them to their source, or eliminating them on sight near agricultural areas, as well as monitoring any lanternflies in the area. Spotted Lanternflies have a distinct pattern, a red body with black spots on brownish-grey wings being apart of a category of plant hopper from the eastern continents of China, India and South Korea respectively. The introduction of invasive species has opened up the topic of previous invasive species migrated mistakenly from their natural habitats to new one disrupting the natural order of nature.
The average size is 1 inch in length with a life span of one year. They are to lay around 30-50 eggs during the fall and winter season. Adult Lanternflies use upwinds to fly up 40 meters and are able to land on fruit tree orchards using their frontal wingspan and with an average airspeed of about 4.64 m/s. Anemotactic measurements are used to chart the movements of an object or thing in relation to the direction of the wind, allowing anyone to learn about their behavioral patterns. Using these measurements, researchers are able to figure out how the lanternflies use short flights to save small amounts of energy before their angled flight to the food source without exhausting themselves. Such strategy allows Lanternflies to anticipate their direction without falling to the ground, which most Lanternflies have tried and failed to do. This gives rise to the idea of how lanternflies easily migrated across the North American continent, flying from tree to tree and populating their kind to become an unstoppable force. Their average ground speed is 2.65 m/s as they take off at the 10 second mark in their bout towards the upwind by 4.64 m/s from the adult Spotted Lanternflies.
Fruit trees, such as apples, oranges, and peaches as well as grape vineyard orchards provide essential nutrients for spotted lanternflies as well as nesting grounds for their offspring, which has serious consequences for American farmers who have infestations of lanternflies and other orchard feeding bugs eating their hard-earned orchard trees, harming the economy and stores across the continent. Fruits have been treated with insecticides to keep their fresh look from being eaten away by lanternflies and other insects in the wild. Although the effects on the adult spotted lanternfly would be effective, the other issue would be the reproduction cycle of the spotted Lanternfly’s eggs and nymphs, which could be solved by using Chlorpyrifo to completely kill all the eggs from their hiding place. Another insecticide idea is to use Thiamethoxam and Bifenthrin, which are from a subcategory of insecticides that can be used to controlling insects for up to fourteen days and can be used directly on spotted lanternflies by approximately half of the population, which leaves the other half unharmed calmly. The cost of these insecticides to humans, however, would be their toxic hazard for everyone’s health, including taste and smell, if eaten by herbivore or omnivore animals, resulting in a double-edged sword for orchard protection that can eventually harm other lifeforms.
The alternative method for preventing the spread of Spotted Lanternflies in the area is to use lures and traps to capture them using their habitats such as covering tree trunks with sticky bands being the Bug Barrier or web cote tree bands with the use of methyl salicylate as the insect attractant lure from where the lanternfly might climb up, whether it’s a fruit orchard tree or a host tree, which stops them in their tracks, which was used on lanternflies that have already hatched from their eggs. The Pecan Weevil trap is also known as the Circle trunk trap because it is latched around the tree trunk by a velcro strip that’s been stapled and glued onto the jar with the insecticide strips to kill the lanternflies as well as a zipper bag that will collect them after two weeks of eliminating lanternflies in their late nymph and adult stages. The Intercept panel creates a slip-slide effect with fluon solution and traps lanternflies in a jar with propylene glycol, which are dumped from a paper cone strainer into a plastic bag to be sorted. Tall prism traps are similar to the sticky tree band traps, but they have an internal plastic prism supported by cables and pipes and painted brown to attract lanternflies in addition to the sticky bands around the surfaces. These traps have the greatest effect on lanternflies because the bugbarrier bands have a higher chance of capturing Lanternflies in the sticky tree bands. Regrettably, there are some disadvantages such as other insects becoming entangled in the traps and most lanternflies avoiding contact with the traps. The traps, on the other hand, have statistical value in terms of which life stage of the lanternfly prefers the attraction that surrounds the traps.
Lanternfly nymphs and adults have used their antennal sensory function to develop behavioral patterns that match their environment from their organs. The sensilla placodea and plate organ sensory have increased in size from 33 to 125 times during the nymphal instar cycle. The sexual dimorphism of adult Lanternflies sensilla placodea, which is related to mating behavior between males and females.
Myrick, A.J., Baker, T.C. Analysis of Anemotactic Flight Tendencies of the Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) during the 2017 Mass Dispersal Flights in Pennsylvania. J Insect Behav 32, 11–23 (2019). https://doi-org.ezproxy.rowan.edu/10.1007/s10905-019-09708-x
Leach, Heather, et al. “Evaluation of Insecticides for Control of the Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma Delicatula, (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae), a New Pest of Fruit in the Northeastern U.S.” Crop Protection, Elsevier, 30 May 2019, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0261219419301735?casa_token=HS980H8VqHgAAAAA%3APjvS6LajEnAFNPSA3w7969WkMkbulGC1Sce3EXLJQn4uFPLcL9LqPUeh_AplpbBD5Umt8a0LDw.
Francese, Joseph A, et al. “Developing Traps for the Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma Delicatula (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae).” Validate User, Environmental Entomology, Volume 49, Issue 2, April 2020, Pages 269–276, 28 Jan. 2020, https://academic.oup.com/ee/article/49/2/269/5716627.