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Mild winter expected to expedite spotted lanternfly season

By Justin Udo,

2023-03-14

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Ready or not, spotted lanternfly season is right around the corner, and experts believe this may be their worst year yet.

The cold weather usually kills off some spotted lanternfly eggs, but that doesn’t seem to be the case during this extremely mild winter.

“I think this is going to be the year of the spotted lanternfly, where you’ll see more and more of them pop up,” said Delaware County Parks and Recreation Commissioner Marc Manfre.

Jason Parker, manager of Davey Tree Service, said a mild winter also means a longer lanternfly season. The region can expect to start seeing full-grown lanternflies as early as May, rather than their usual summer season. He added that a very high percentage of eggs that got laid last year will probably hatch this year.

From herbicides and pesticides to tree traps, Manfre said his team has been hard at work trying to mitigate the invasive species that’s plagued the area over the last few years. Spotted lanternflies destroy fruit crops and trees.

As they work to rid their spaces of the insects, Manfre is asking park-goers to do their part if they see egg clusters attached to trees, which look like white or brown sacks.

“The best way to attack it would be to contact our office,” he said.

Parker noted that preventive treatments generally give the best form of control.

“If you wait until you actually start seeing damage on the plants, not only are the plants suffering, but the level of control you’re able to get might be much less,” Parker said.

Experts say smashing them is also an effective way to kill lanternfly eggs.

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