Natural Ways to Get Rid of Lanternflies on Plants

Being familiar with how to get rid of lanternflies is indeed important as these pests can spread fast and are highly destructive.

Although these little creatures do not sting or bite, their swarming habit is annoying enough to keep people away from the infested outdoor areas.

Besides, lanternflies can feed on your vegetable plants, fruits, and lovely flowers when left untreated.

To help you deal with lanternflies, I will illustrate a few natural ways to eliminate these invasive species below.

Moreover, this guide will also tell you some preventive measures that can deter these plant invaders from returning and other useful information regarding lanternflies.

Table of Contents

Good Reasons to Control Lanternfly Infestations ASAP

Lanternflies are probably not directly perilous to humans and pets. However, you need to be concerned when spotting them in the garden or yard.

These bugs feed on the sap of your plants and desert a sweet material that encourages fungal escalation as well as new insects on the damaged hosts. 

They can spread rapidly once established in a location. You will find it difficult to control them at a later stage.

Besides, researchers have yet to find parasitic or predatory insects that become these pests’ natural enemies and can eliminate the population of lanternflies in an affected area.

As a consequence, the best way to avoid dealing with the massive infestation of lanternflies is by destroying them as soon as you find any life stage of these bugs.

How to Tell Lanternfly Infestations Earlier

How to Tell Lanternfly Infestations Earlier
Image by bartlett

You can tell there are lanternfly infestations on your property since the early phase of their lifecycle.

The common sign of lanternfly infestations is the manifestation of dark, grimy mold on trees, outdoor furniture, fence posts, or rocks.

However, you may also notice the infestation of these invasive insects through their egg masses and tiny nymphs at an earlier stage.

Identifying the egg masses

If you see tiny spots of gray, putty-like matter with a waxy covering, this can be the initial look of the egg masses in your property.

Sooner or later, the egg masses may turn darker and appear like dried mud on the tree. You probably notice them come out like tire tracks.

Furthermore, you should not miss any trees or flat objects around your yard as lanternflies tend to deposit their egg masses there.

Once you spotted the eggs, don’t push back to destroy them to avoid these insects from multiplying and causing further harm. 

Identifying the nymphs

The little nymphs of lanternflies will begin jumping through yards, gardens, farms, and parks in the spring and early summer.

During this early phase, their length is around a quarter inch and they have black bodies with white marks and no wings.

Later in the summer, they will turn larger and develop their wings. Their bodies also change into red color with white spots and black blotches. In this stage, the lanternflies will start taking to the air to swarm more plants and trees. 

What Plants Attract Spotted Lanternflies

What Plants Attract Spotted Lanternflies
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Plants that attract lanternflies may vary depending on the lifecycle of these pests. For instance, adult bugs prefer particular trees only. Meanwhile, nymphs typically eat up any kind of plant.

  • Plants that attract the nymphs

Nymphs of lanternflies love willow, grapevine, maple, cherries, pine, plum, apple, and other fruit trees. However, you may find them feed on other types of trees too.

  • Plants that attract the adults

On the other hand, adults of lanternflies typically prefer willow and the Tree of Heaven.

Fruit vines such as grapes and trees like blueberries make a delicious treat for lanternflies as well. Moreover, ornamental trees are also prone to the threat of these pests.

Lanternflies have a huge interest in common Milkweed too. Thus, you can consider planting these trees in a high amount to control these bugs.

These pests are not aware of the Milkweed’s poisonous quality, so they will eat up the tree and get killed eventually.

Additionally, the poisonous sap of the Milkweed can slow down lanternflies. As a result, this will make it easy to destroy these bugs.

How to Get Rid of Lanternflies Naturally

How to Get Rid of Lanternflies Naturally
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Thanks to the destructive nature of these pests, no landowner will stand on lanternflies infestation for so long.

Killing these bugs directly through stomping or swatting is indeed doable. However, you should remember that lanternflies can swiftly jump far away when you threatened them. Hence, such mechanical control is pretty difficult to achieve. 

Nevertheless, before shopping for the best insecticide for spotted lanternfly in the market as a solution, using a natural method will be a better option. Besides, this is particularly advisable if you are living with kids and pets.

Luckily, several natural remedies come in handy if you wish to eliminate these pests without the use of harmful chemicals. 

From utilizing a homemade spray to creating a lanternfly trap, there are various attempts you could try to destroy these pest infestations naturally.

1. Homemade spray to kill lanternflies

Homemade spray to kill lanternflies
Image by thehomemadeexperiment

In the attempt to exterminate lanternflies, you should not skip using a homemade spray. Apple cider vinegar and rubbing alcohol are among the most helpful natural ingredients to kill these creatures in your garden.

These homemade sprays allow you to control lanternfly infestations without dealing with any dangerous chemicals that are unsafe for your little ones and pets.

Apply your homemade sprays in the morning or evening. Make sure to wet both sides of the foliages for a successful result. 

2. Use vinegar to kill spotted lanternflies

Use vinegar to kill spotted lanternflies
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Vinegar makes a great choice if you need a natural remedy to control lanternflies instantly. Use it to spray these pests directly and get amazed by its direct result.

You can also mix vinegar, water, and rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle to eradicate lanternflies effectively.

This home remedy makes a perfect option to eradicate lanternflies that reside in weeds as well. You can spray the vinegar directly on the weed to kill both the host and the bugs.

3. Use bleach to get rid of lanternflies on trees

Use bleach to get rid of lanternflies on trees
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To eliminate these pests during their early stage, you can take advantage of bleach or rubbing alcohol. 

Simply put the egg masses in a bag or container and then fill it with a little bit of bleach, rubbing alcohol, or hand sanitizer to destroy them.

Also, it is recommended to utilize a scraper or a rock to crush the egg masses while scrapping them off the host tree into a container. This method will help prevent the eggs from emerging. 

4. Neem oil

Applying neem oil spray

Does neem oil kill lanternflies on contact? Yes, this natural remedy works best as a homemade spray to control these bugs. 

Aside from lanternflies, neem oil makes a great solution to deter mites, beetles, leaf miners, and aphids

To create a homemade spray for lanternflies, you better get pure organic neem oil and then mix it with water. For 1/3 cup per gallon water, you will need 2% of pure neem oil.

Using the pure one is considered more effective than utilizing a commercial product. Make sure to dilute the solutions before use to prevent plant damage.

Additionally, you may add an emulsifier as well to promote a better mixture of the oil and water.

5. A variety of essential oils

Essential oils

Essential oils including peppermint, tea tree, and lavender are also effective at reducing lanternfly infestations in your garden.

These essential oils release a strong aroma that diminishes the survival chance of lanternflies and other insects.

You can simply make a combination of water with these essential oils and spray the mixture directly on the lanternflies for a quick result.

6. Rely on Dish soaps

Rely on Dish soaps
Image by leevalley

Do you not have any of the above remedies at home? Then, try to use dish soaps. This ingredient is not only easy to find but also pretty powerful to control lanternflies.

It may not as natural as the previous methods, but dish soaps will be much safer for pets, kids, and even adults.

You can take advantage of any dish soap brand on the market and mix it in equal amounts with water in a spray bottle. 

Make sure to use the solution directly on lanternflies to kill them successfully.

A mixture of dish soap is also effective to eliminate spotted lanternfly eggs. Do not forget to cleanse the dead bugs and their spawns afterward. 

Otherwise, they may turn into a cast that spoils your garden.

7. Create a DIY lanternfly trap

Create a DIY lanternfly trap
Image by centredaily

Besides, you can use dish soap in different ways to kill lanternflies. Instead of mixing this ingredient with water or other natural repellents for a homemade spray, try to create a DIY bug trap with it.

Add apple cider vinegar to a jar of dish soap to create the solution. Once properly mixed, you can put this DIY trap in the affected areas.

In a larger space, do not hesitate to use multiple jars of this solution for the best result. Moreover, the following lanternfly traps are worth a try as well.

  • Use tree bands

Wrapping the trunk of the infested trees with a sticky band will help control lanternflies. This method is most useful when the insects are still nymphs and have yet to develop wings. 

You may need to install a mesh or wire cage around the trap to avoid squirrels, birds, or other animals from getting hurt.

  • Create a DIY circle traps

Make a funnel-style trap using plastic-coated insect screening if you do not want to utilize any sticky materials. 

The design of this trap means capturing the nymphs of lanternflies as they crawl up to feed on leaves on the infected trees.

With the trap wrapping around the tree trunks, the nymphs will end up in a dead-end collection container as they move upward.

8. Wrap the infected tree with sticky paper

Wrap the infected tree with sticky paper
Image by brightview

If you need to deal with a bad infestation of lanternflies, consider wrapping the area around the bottom of your tree with wide sticky paper or inside-out duct tape.

Next, take a pressure washer or hose and spray these pests with water. You can also use a leaf blower to make them fall off of the tree with air.

As they try to climb up the tree after falling off, these bugs will get trapped on the sticky paper.

Consider replacing the sticky paper with the new one if the lanternflies have occupied the available space. Then, do not forget to take off the paper from the tree and then burn it consequently after use.

Other Tips to Eliminate Lanternflies

Other Tips to Eliminate Lanternflies
Image by psu

Since adult lanternflies are magnetized to the Tree of Heaven, you may consider eliminating this tree from your garden or land as pest control.

For some reason, these bugs prefer the individual Tree of Heaven to others. Thus, you should be aware of particular trees that are most attractive to them.

You can remove most of the infected trees. Then, leave some of the most attractive ones as a trap. 

Consider destroying all the female Tree of Heaven trees since they will generate a seed that encourages the spread of these destructive insects.

Meanwhile, if you notice the lanternflies residing very high up in other trees, it will be hard to eliminate these bugs using a usual spray bottle. 

In this view, hiring a bug expert or professional tree care service will be a more sensible choice to deal with lanternfly infestations. 

How to Prevent Lanternflies from Returning to Your Property

How to Prevent Lanternflies from Returning to Your Property
Image by winemag

Landowners must prevent spreading lanternflies to other areas and avoid them from returning once treated. 

One of the excellent practices is to refrain from parking your cars or other vehicles under trees where the adult lanternflies exist as they may lay eggs on them.

If you notice the presence of lanternflies around your property, inspect all items and surfaces around it and destroy any living bug and the egg masses immediately. 

You should particularly pay attention to fence posts, outdoor furniture pieces, rocks, firewood, and rusty metal located in your garden. 

These control measures will help to diminish the potential for these invasive pests to spread to new areas. 

The Bottom Line

Lanternflies are a true annoyance for any yard and garden owner. Nevertheless, there are several methods that can be an effective alternative to get rid of these pests without the harmful effect of chemicals.

You can try any natural remedy that is convenient for you since most of them are equally effective.

Finally, hope the above guidelines and tips are helpful in your attempt to keep lanternflies away from your outdoor areas!

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