It’s getting a little locust plague-esque here on the West Side, as swarms of spotted lanternflies sweep Hell’s Kitchen’s modern glass and steel towers en masse! We have some tips on how to get rid of the pests…
Large swathes of the spotted menace — known as the Lycorma delicatula and rapidly spreading across the East Coast – converged at the entrance of Life Time SKY on W42nd between 11th and 12th Avenue, blocking patrons from entering the gym as equally dense colonies of bugs took over the exteriors of Waterline Square and VIA57 West. Researchers have suggested that the insects, which seem to prefer glass and metal-walled buildings over pre-war brick, are attracted to the warmth and height radiating from new construction materials.
The NYC Parks Department told W42ST that they regularly attend spotted lanternfly interagency response meetings led by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets to keep up to date on the latest infestation data and learn about any new management methods.
“At this time we are not considering any widespread treatment or tree removal strategies to control the SLF population,” a spokesperson from the Parks Department told us. “A citywide pesticide treatment program would be difficult to achieve given current permitting requirements, the prohibitive cost, and may also harm other wildlife and cause unintended damage to surrounding ecosystems. We will continue to follow our Tree Risk Management guidelines for the majority of infestations on City trees–pruning and removing trees as they pose a risk to the public.”
While it may be unlikely that the average New Yorker can vanquish a large-scale swarm of spotted lanternflies, there are ways to extinguish bugs across the Big Apple. In addition to the classic stomp/squish method, local ecological nonprofit H2O NYC and City Council Member Gale Brewer recently appeared on NY1 to instruct viewers how to fashion their own soccer-cone-mesh mass trap.
Not the crafty type? Luckily, there are quite a few home-styled Big Apple exterminators sharing their tips and tricks for taking out the bugs without major equipment.
Reader Danny told us that his game-changing tip for nabbing the buggers was to wait until they’ve jumped once before stepping in to squish them. He said: “You have a better shot of squishing them after that – and if you miss again, they used even more energy during that second jump as well.”
According to the Montgomery Township in Somerset New Jersey (currently battling a significant outbreak), a simple apple cider vinegar or household white vinegar spray will kill the Spotted Lanternfly on contact – make sure to keep the vinegar undiluted for maximum effectiveness and avoid any plants that may be harmed by direct vinegar exposure.
Hate the smell of vinegar? Another homemade spray option is homemade dish soap and water – mix ¼ cup of liquid dish soap, a quart of water and a tablespoon of vegetable oil to form a brew that will suffocate the swarms.
Diatomaceous Earth, known as a general pesticide (including against cockroaches, New Yorkers!!) is also effective in killing spotted lanternflies. Combine the DE with water or dust it in affected areas or directly on bugs.
Budding green thumb? Plant the milkweed flower on your windowsill planter for a natural bait that’s poisonous to spotted lanternflies.
Another option is to lay out sticky tape as a windowsill trap, though this method runs the risk of entrapping other creatures.
Ready to put that Dyson to use? Vacuuming the bugs, sealing and disposing the bag will do the trick.
Want to keep things super simple? You can, of course, sweep them up into a dustpan, seal a bag, and dispose of them.
Whichever method you choose and as sightings rise local officials and environmental groups urge citizens not to give up the fight against the spotted lanternfly — wherever you find them.