Spotted Lanternflies have been in my backyard all spring and summer long. I guessed the fly was attracted to the trees in the area.
But I looked in my neighbor’s backyard and spotted the most likely thing that kept those Lanternflies around this summer. My neighbor has several saplings of Tree of Heaven growing in their backyard. Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) is a hostplant for the Spotted Lanternfly. Luckily my neighbor cut down the Tree of Heaven saplings in his yard.
Spotted Lanternflies feed on over 70 species of herbaceous plants from vines to large trees. Cornell University has an article on some of the hostplants of the Lanternfly.
But spiders to the rescue! I was in my garden and noticed the web first. I filmed this video of the big Yellow Garden Spider wrapping up an unlucky Lanternfly.
Yellow Garden Spider wraps up a Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula)
The spider in the video is a Yellow Garden Spider (Ariope aurantia). It is a big spider. The male ranges in size from ⅛ -¼’ (5-8mm) and the female ¾ – 1 ⅛’ (19-2 mm). The spider in my garden was so big it had to be a female.
Stabilimenta in Yellow Garden Spider (Ariope aurantia) web in my back garden
The web decoration of the thick zigzag threads are hard to miss. I couldn’t remember what the ‘zigzaggy” thing is called. I had to look it up.
The “zigzaggy” thing is called a stabilimenta. It is included in the web of some orb-web spiders. Scientists don’t know the purposes of the stabilimenta. And different species may use them for different things. The stabilization purpose suggestions include stabilization, camouflage, attraction or warnings for birds and other animals no tto fly into the web and destroy it.
Hunting for Lanternflies
In the last few days I’ve noticed many dead Lanternflies on the ground, on top of my rain barrels, and on outdoor tabletops. Their lifespans are at an end. I think what we can do to cut down next year’s population is to search out their egg masses and destroy them. The egg masses are deposited on tree trunks. Here is a video from Penn State showing us how.
I’d like to set a goal of finding and destroying ten egg masses before next spring. I could start by looking on the trees on the list on the link in the top of this page.
If you don’t have Spotted Lanternfly in your area, count yourself lucky. These insects can fly but more often jump from spot to spot. They hitch rides on the back of shirts and make their way inside your house. Besides their creepiness, they suck the sap out of trees.
It is so exhausting having so many invasive, dangerous plant and animal species come to our shores. Sometimes, I wish Mother Earth would make a correction and the invasive plant and animals just fail to thrive here. A girl can dream.