• Outdoors Outdoors

Local gardener shares genius DIY method for trapping havoc-wreaking invasive insect: 'You are the hero we all need'

"That is work well done. Thank you for the idea!"

"That is work well done. Thank you for the idea!"

Photo Credit: iStock

Not all heroes wear capes. Some merely stick tape to trees.

One Redditor earned the title and shared the reason why in a post to r/Pittsburgh, a city under siege by the invasive spotted lanternfly. The accompanying photo shows a trap made of tape, window screening, and push pins attached to a tree, with dozens of what are presumably spotted lanternfly nymphs stuck to the adhesive. 

"That is work well done. Thank you for the idea!"
Photo Credit: Reddit

"The photo was taken a half hour after the trap was applied to the tree," the OP captioned the post. "Spent about $100 to tape 40 trees, with a lot of tape left for replacing as needed."

According to PennState Extension, the spotted lanternfly was first detected in the United States in 2014. They are sap-sucking insects and can be detrimental to the health of plants they feed on in areas where they have been introduced, according to the Natural History Museum

Grape vineyards seem to be especially affected by this. In Pennsylvania, the OP's home state, the feeding habits of spotted lanternflies could drain the state's economy by up to $324 million every year and result in the loss of 2,800 jobs, per the Natural History Museum

That's why many residents are trying to interrupt the spread of the SLF by setting traps. However, it's critical that a wildlife barrier, like the window screening used by the OP, is used when creating a trap. This will help to prevent other wildlife, including native pollinators, from getting stuck to the adhesive. Immature lanternflies are known to walk up the trunks of trees, which is how they get trapped. 

Invasive species are a major concern for biodiversity, as they outcompete native plants and animals for the resources necessary to survive and thrive. Properly trapping the SLF is a great way to combat the spread of this particular insect. 

In general, there are other simple actions we can each take to fight the spread of invasive species, including cleaning off our gear after an outdoor excursion and never releasing pets or houseplants into the wild. 

Many Redditors took to the comment section to laud the OP for their efforts and ask clarifying questions about the traps' creation. 

🗣️ How often will you be gardening this summer?

🔘 Every day 🥗

🔘 At least once a week 🥕

🔘 At least once a month 🌱

🔘 I don't garden 🚫

🗳️ Click your choice to see results and speak your mind

"You are the hero we all need in our lives," commented one. "Bravo!"

"That is work well done," another said. "Thank you for the idea!"

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