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how to deal with spotted lantern fly

Combatting The Spotted Lanternfly In Harlem & Manhattan

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NYC residents, if you care about the health of our urban trees, it’s time to be vigilant against a destructive duo: the invasive Ailanthus tree (aka Tree of Heaven) and the notorious Spotted Lanternfly. Here’s what these invaders mean for Harlem and New York City and what you can do to protect your trees.

Ailanthus: The Invasive Tree Taking Over

The Ailanthus tree may have a pleasant-sounding name, but don’t be fooled, it’s an invasive species and considered a weed. Here’s why it’s a significant problem:

  • Rapid, Unstoppable Growth: Ailanthus trees can reach 100 feet in mere decades, outcompeting our native trees for resources and disrupting the delicate balance of our parks and green spaces.
  • Relentless Spread: These trees produce thousands of seeds that easily travel on the wind. Plus, their roots spread aggressively underground, creating dense, impossible-to-control thickets.
  • Lanternfly Central: Worst of all, Ailanthus trees are the preferred host of the Spotted Lanternfly, making them a hotbed for even further tree damage.

Spotting the Spotted Lanternfly

This invasive insect from Asia seriously threatens trees and crops across the region. Learn to identify them to stop them in their tracks:

  • Adults: About an inch long, with gray forewings covered in black spots and flashy red hindwings underneath.
  • Nymphs: Start as tiny black insects with white spots, developing red patches as they mature.
  • Egg Masses: Brownish-gray, mud-like patches about an inch long, often found on tree trunks or other flat surfaces.

The Threat to NYC

  • Our Trees Are at Risk: Lanternflies weaken trees by sucking out their sap, leaving them vulnerable to disease and dying off.
  • Nuisance Factor: Their sticky “honeydew” secretions attract wasps and promote the growth of unsightly black sooty mold.
  • Beyond the City: Lanternflies endanger economically vital grapevines, fruit trees, and hardwood forests across the state.

What You Can Do to Fight Back Against the Spotted Lantern Fly

  • Know Your Enemy: Learn to identify Ailanthus trees and Spotted Lanternflies at all stages ([link to NYS Dept. of Agriculture & Markets resources])
  • Report Sightings: Help contain the problem! If you see signs of either, let the NY State Dept. of Agriculture & Markets know immediately. The sooner they know, the better they can react.
  • Control Ailanthus: Don’t try to DIY remove Ailanthus. Call NYC Tree Pro – improper removal can make them spread even more!
  • Stop the Spread: Don’t transport firewood (it can hide eggs), and avoid parking under infested trees, as adults can hitch a ride.
  • Protect Your Trees: NYC Tree Pro can assess your trees’ risk of lanternfly infestation and provide proactive protection or treatment if the pests are already present.

NYC Tree Pro: Your Ally in the Fight

At NYC Tree Pro, we’re committed to protecting Harlem’s trees (and trees across our city) from these damaging invaders. Don’t let Ailanthus and Spotted Lanternflies take over – contact us today for a consultation.