How to Prevent Lantern Flies From Invading Your Yard

Olivia Elsher

Sep 27, 2022


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Lantern flies can be irritating, and they’re even worse when they’re invading your home. Unfortunately, the invasive species likes several plants that are native to the United States. They might be pests that are tricky to deal with, but there are ways to eliminate them from your space. Follow these tips to get your natural surroundings in control once again.

What Are Lantern Flies?

Lantern flies have been in the United States since 2014, when they became invasive pests that cause damage to the local flora. Their active season stretches from May to November. The eggs last through the winter, but most of the adults die out at the end of fall.

They popularly prey on species like tree of heaven, willows, maples, poplars, apple trees, pine trees, and others. Because the eggs are gray, they might be hard to identify in the winter. Still, people need to do what they can to combat the lantern fly species, as they threaten several crucial industries, like wine, trees, and fruit.

How to Stop the Lantern Fly Invasion

While you can’t stop the invasive species alone, you can take measures into your own hands to ensure they stay off your property. There are several ways to eliminate an invasive species, but you should always remember to report a sighting of them to the proper authorities when necessary.

1. End the Spread

The only way to end the spread of lantern flies is to get rid of their eggs. Keep your eyes open in the winter — you never know what surface the eggs will be hiding on. When you see a lantern fly, you need to assume there will be eggs nearby. If you find a clutch of eggs on a surface, scrape them off with something like an old credit card. It’s easiest to scrape the eggs into a plastic bag, then use hand sanitizer or another type of alcohol to kill them. After that, you can safely dispose of the eggs.

2. Get Rid of Host Plants

Getting rid of your host plants is a more permanent solution to getting rid of lantern flies. Still, it doesn’t really eliminate the invasive species — it just sends them somewhere else. Removing the host plants from your property will leave the nymphs and adult lantern flies with nothing to eat. If you have a lot of host plants, consider removing most and leaving only some. This way, you can catch the lantern flies on the remaining host plants.

In place of the host plants, you can start planting milkweed. Milkweed can be poisonous to many bugs, and lantern flies are no exception. They may not know what the milkweed is, but once they feast on it, they’ll die. It might be the easiest passive way to eliminate pests from your property.

3. Use Insecticide

An insecticide isn’t typically the most environmentally friendly choice, but it’s a last-resort option if nothing else is working. Before you turn to store-bought insecticides, consider making insecticidal soap with rubbing alcohol and water. You may even add dish soap. Dish soap mixtures have a history of destroying other harmful bugs, so it can be helpful for you, too. You can apply this directly to the lantern flies. You may also consider wrapping your trees with sticky substances to catch lantern flies so you can spray them with the mixture more easily.

Get Rid of Lantern Flies for Good

It might take some time before you rid yourself of lantern flies completely. Still, by taking measures to change the outlook of your property or keeping a closer eye on the insect activities within, you may find out whether your actions have led to the decline of lantern flies around you. Even if the situation seems impossible, you can rely on DIY methods to get the job done. Eventually, you shouldn’t have to worry about a plague of lantern flies on your property.

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