The SLF returned to Lower Paxton Township in mid-May... read more about how to combat this invasive species.
The first reports of SLF nymphs surface in mid-May here in Lower Paxton. These were the black and white first instar shown below. They will grow quickly through the other life stages and become more noticeable as the colorful flying adult later in the summer.
As mentioned in a previous issue of the Township newsletter, while the SLF has only been proven to kill Tree of Heaven and grapevines, it can damage other vegetation that is otherwise stressed, such as newly planted trees or trees and shrubs that are diseased or drought stressed. Other than potential harm to woody vegetation, SLF is a nuisance, and its honeydew (excrement) can fall on objects under infested trees, including cars, decks, furniture, playground equipment and vegetation. The sticky honeydew is then infected with unsightly sooty mold which is difficult to remove. Heavy coatings of sooty mold can hinder photosynthesis on affected plant. Honeydew also attracts sugar-loving insects such as ants, wasps, and bees.
So what can you do? Various kinds of traps are available, including the most publicized “circle trap” which can take some effort to construct, and the sticky tape which is discouraged because it can trap other (beneficial) insects, birds and bats that are attracted to the captured insects. These can be improved by covering with screen that projects out from the tape to exclude the birds and bats.
Another kind of trap that was used successfully in Lower Paxton last year to capture adult SLF, and that is now capturing the first instar nymphs, is a simple tulle fabric trap that is wrapped around a tree trunk. The fabric is folded in half lengthwise, with a length of twine in the fold. That is the top of the trap, tied around the tree. The top can be reinforced with staples, especially on a smooth barked tree. The fabric ends are folded over each other and stapled together. The bottom of the inner layer of tulle is fixed to the bark with staples. Try to close all the gaps between bark and tulle. Fiberglas insulation may help with this. The outer layer of tulle should be rolled inward on itself to provide a pocket to catch any SLF that fall from inside the trap. This pocket should be held out from the tree with small blocks of wood, styrofoam, etc. to provide open access for the SLF to climb up into the trap. Their instinct is to climb upward, so don’t worry about them escaping out the bottom. See the image below.