Every little bit helps

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Taking care of pest infestations threatening forests is a state job, right? Yeah, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things the little guy can do.

I talked a couple weeks back about the Spotted Lantern Fly (SLF), a recent and incredibly rapid-growing invasive pest with an appetite for just about all kinds of trees. For the most part, state agriculture departments are the front line in controlling invasive pests, but this one is so potentially destructive that state departments are asking for help from homeowners. And if it’s come to that, then woodworkers should also sign up for the fight. There are four things we can do.

1) Egg Scraping. The SLF lays egg masses that look like a smear of grayish peanut butter on the sides of trees or any other hard surface near forests. That includes the sides of houses and decks, landscaping, etc. If you see an egg mass, scrape it off and destroy it in a baggy filled with rubbing alcohol. No alcohol on you? Mashing them into the ground underfoot works, too, to which I can personally attest. Most importantly, now through spring is the time to do this.

2) Tree Banding. When the eggs hatch in the spring, the nymphs migrate to the tops of trees to get at the tasty, tender stuff. Encircling a tree with sticky bug tape stops them in their tracks, and they die on the tape.

3) Host Removal. An invasive plant called Tree-of-heaven from the fly’s part of the world is the preferred host for these alien invaders. You’ll find Tree-of-heaven in landscaping and roadsides. Getting these plants out of the landscape by any means will help cut down SLF numbers.

4) Chemicals. OK, now we’re getting into the heavy armament, and I can’t get into details of chemical use here. If you’re experienced with pest-control chemicals, contact your local extension office for advice and recommendations on their use against the SLF.

The Spotted Lantern Fly affects everyone, including the interests of woodworkers. Join the fight against them. I have.

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