Practical Advice: Julie Urban

Understand the lanternfly's habits with these tips.

Julie Urban and lanternflies

Transient Travelers
Spotted lanternflies are heavy feeders, but they typically move on to other food sources, allowing plants and trees they’ve fed on to rebound.

Discerning Palates
Lanternflies enjoy grapes, tree of heaven, and red and silver maple. Out of all the maples in a neighborhood or property, they’ll likely favor only some individual trees.

‘Cuke’ Caution
We’ve observed lower yield from affected cucumber plants on which we’ve caged lanternflies and forced them to feed. In actual gardens, the insects typically won’t stay long on a plant.

On the Spot
Treat your plants (you can use a spray) when you see the insects on them—nymphs in the spring, adults in the fall.

Professional Help
A landscaper is the best person to treat your high-value trees, but we recommend waiting to see if you have lanternflies feeding in high numbers before treating.


Julie Urban is an associate research professor in the department of entomology.