How to Get Rid of Spotted Lanternflies in Massachusetts


Spotted Lanternflies (SLF) are an invasive species causing significant damage to trees, crops, and ornamental plants across the United States. Massachusetts is no exception. As they spread, it becomes increasingly crucial to understand how to control and eliminate these pests effectively. In this blog, we'll provide comprehensive insights on how to get rid of Spotted Lanternflies in Massachusetts.

What are Spotted Lanternflies?


Spotted Lanternflies are distinctive insects with gray wings marked with black spots, and vibrant red underwings when their wings are open. Adults grow to about 1 inch long and 1/2 inch wide. They are often found in clusters on tree trunks and branches, feeding on the sap.


Understanding the lifecycle of SLF is essential for effective control. In the fall, adult females lay egg masses containing 30-50 eggs each on trees, rocks, outdoor furniture and other surfaces. These egg masses are covered in a gray, putty-like substance. The eggs hatch in late spring into black nymphs with white spots. The nymphs go through 4 immature stages, becoming red with black stripes and white spots before becoming adults in late summer.

Why are Spotted Lanternflies a Problem?

Damage to Plants

SLF are plant hoppers that feed by sucking sap from over 70 different plant species, including grapevines, maples, black walnuts, birches and many fruit trees. Their feeding damages plants by causing oozing sap that attracts other insects and promotes mold growth. This invasive pest weakens plants, making them more vulnerable to disease and death.

Economic Impact

The agricultural sector suffers significantly due to SLF infestations, particularly vineyards, orchards and the forestry industry.Infestations can render entire grapevines and orchards unproductive, causing major crop losses. This pest poses a major threat to the economy of Massachusetts, impacting agricultural businesses as well as the landscaping industry.

How to Control Spotted Lanternflies

Egg Mass Scraping

One of the most effective methods for controlling SLF is to destroy their egg masses before they hatch in spring. From late fall through winter, thoroughly check trees, rocks, decks, outdoor furniture and other surfaces for the gray, putty-like egg masses. Scrape them into a bag or container filled with rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer or soap and water to kill the eggs.

Tree Banding

Apply sticky bands around the trunks of trees infested with SLF to capture the nymphs as they crawl up to feed. Check bands frequently and remove captured insects, reapplying sticky material as needed. Be cautious of unintended captures of other harmless insects and wildlife.

Chemical Control

For severe infestations, insecticides labeled for use against SLF can be an effective control measure. Always read and follow all label instructions carefully. Systemic insecticides applied as soil drenches or trunk injections protect trees from within. Consult a professional pest control service for recommendations on chemical treatments for your property.

Remove Ailanthus Trees

The Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) is a preferred host for SLF. Removing these invasive trees from your property can help reduce SLF populations, but take care to prevent further seed spread during removal.

Biological Control

Researchers are investigating natural predators like parasitic wasps and fungi that may provide long-term biological control of SLF. While still in early stages, these controls could be an environmentally-friendly way to manage this pest in the future.

Preventing Future Infestations

Inspect Outdoor Items

SLF can easily be transported to new areas by stowing away on vehicles, outdoor furniture, firewood, and other items moved from infested regions, especially during fall egg laying. Carefully inspect these items before moving them.

Educate Your Community

Raising community awareness about the threat of SLF and how to identify them is critical. Inform neighbors about protecting trees and removing egg masses. Coordinated community efforts significantly improve the success of invasive pest management programs.

Ransford Pest Control: Your Partner in SLF Management

At Ransford Pest Control, we are committed to helping protect your home, business, and community from Spotted Lanternflies and other destructive invasive species. Our trained technicians utilize integrated pest management (IPM) techniques, combining cultural, mechanical, and judicious use of pesticides to provide effective and environmentally responsible control. Contact us for an inspection and customized treatment plan to eliminate Spotted Lanternflies on your Massachusetts property.

Get a Free Estimate
Contact Info
By submitting this form, you are agreeing to the privacy policy.