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PSU Extension educator offers advice on insecticide use for lanternflies

UNIVERSITY PARK — As summer progresses — and spotted lanternflies make themselves at home just about anywhere, including on residential properties — frustrated homeowners might find themselves wrestling with the idea of using insecticides to vanquish the insect interlopers.

Before doing so, homeowners should do their research, weigh the pros and cons, and seek professional advice if needed, according to a Penn State Extension educator based in Montgomery County who is all too familiar with the destructive pest.

“Like other residents living in one of the 26 Pennsylvania counties impacted by spotted lanternfly, I worry about how these pests might affect the health of my plants and interfere with my ability to enjoy outdoor living space,” said horticulture educator Emelie Swackhamer when talking about the spotted lanternfly, a planthopper that feeds on agricultural commodities and plants in natural habitats, parks and backyards.

“So, I understand why people are willing to do anything to get rid of them, including using insecticides,” she said. “We encourage everyone first to try nontoxic, effective options, including mechanical methods such as smashing or trapping, but sometimes an insecticide application is warranted.”

However, because there are safety, environmental and sometimes regulatory concerns that accompany the use of insecticides, she offered the following tips to help homeowners in making their decision:

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