Stop the hop: A different method to try for killing spotted lanternflies in NJ
At this point, we're probably all sick of anything related to the spotted lanternfly. We're sick of seeing them, and we're exhausted from hearing about them. Unfortunately for us, this invasive pest is still a significant problem in New Jersey that we're being forced to deal with.
As the spotted lanternfly expands its footprint in The Garden State, many of us are trying to find new and creative ways to capture and kill them. For example, Kylie Moore recently shared another method of capturing these obnoxious pests that involve using water bottles (you can check out the method she shared by clicking here).
As for me? I tend to be very observant when it comes to spotted lanternflies. This is especially true when I happen to be in a place where these things tend to be swarming all over. I want to know exactly how they behave in hopes of finding new methods of how to kill them.
Well, I might've just found another method you can try yourself to kill them. And it's a method that doesn't involve anything but your foot. What's more, it's a way that might also stop it from hopping, making it much easier to squish.
Now before I go on, I do want to say that this experiment isn't in any way scientific or based on scientific facts. It's merely results based on my own observations of the spotted lanternfly and what I noticed while conducting my own experiment with them.
Hopefully, what I share with you can help your efforts in trying to kill more of these invasive pests with ease.
Location and sample size
Before I could give this a try, I need to find a location that dealt with a high volume of spotted lanternflies. Luckily, I was able to find somewhere in Monmouth County that was perfect to try this experiment out.
I was recently at Bell Works in Holmdel, which is one of those places that deal with tons of these bugs. It's especially evident at both the main entrance as well as their outdoor deck. These things were literally everywhere.
As expected, most of the spotted lanternflies tend to hop away from you when approached, which seems to be common. On occasion, they may try to fly, but usually only for a short distance before landing.
Since there were so many, I decided to try something with a certain number of them. The sample size I used for the first part of this experiment was 10 spotted lanternflies. Again, I probably could've easily killed some of them, but I had to try this just to see if a certain behavior would occur.
Knowing the spotted lanternfly liked to hop away when approached, what I wanted to do is see if there was some way to stop them from jumping when approached. And noticing they only like to hop forward was key.
The first part of the experiment was to approach them from behind or along the sides while trying to stomp on them. As expected, most of them either hopped or tried to fly away when I went in for the kill.
However, it was a different story when approaching them from the front. Every single time I went head-on to them, the lanternfly had to first turn away.
Honing in on the front approach
Most bugs or insects would've probably gotten out of the way quickly when being approached from the front. But the spotted lanternfly seemed incapable of that.
Taking it a step further, as the spotted lanternfly turned away from me, I turned with it remaining in front. But instead of hopping or flying away, it continued to try and turn away. Only when I stopped turning with it did it finally make a move to get away.
This was very interesting to note and got me thinking that these pests don't have a way to get away unless it's facing away from the danger. Again, this is solely based on my observations of trying this out, but the results were consistent every time.
Five more lanternflies join the experiment
After experimenting with the first ten, I tried something slightly different with five more. This time, however, I came straight for the kill right in front of them without warning.
Some of them tried to turn away, but this time, I never stopped approaching. And the result? They didn't have an opportunity to jump, making it easy to step on them.
It appeared the spotted lanternfly had a quicker reaction time when approached from the side or behind as opposed to straight on. Perhaps the lanternfly can't pivot as quickly making it difficult to hop away depending on where the threat approaches.
Kind of interesting to notice that they can't seem to make their escape if they're facing you.
The results were telling
Sometimes, the spotted lanternfly may hop away really fast when trying to step on it. What this experiment showed was if you approach it from the front and remain in front of it, even as it tries to turn away, the more likely it is it won't be able to escape, thus making it easier to kill.
One thing to note about this experiment is that I was only able to try it while the lanternfly was on flat ground. I don't know if their behavior would be different if they were on a wall or a vertical surface when approached from the front.
Again, I have to stress that this was solely based on my own observations and attempts to try and capture the spotted lanternfly. In no way should this be taken as an official remedy for controlling their population, but rather, as another helpful method you can try for yourself when dealing with these invasive pests.
Want to try even more methods? Check out Kylie's tips below, as well as how to recognize their egg masses and the Tree of Heaven, a preferred tree of choice for the spotted lanternfly to lay its eggs.
So how about you? Are there any observations you've noticed or methods you've tried when it comes to trying to kill the spotted lanternfly? Share your tips in the comments.