Biopesticide holds promise in grounding spotted lanternfly

Lanternfly spraying
Photo credit Eric Clifton, Cornell University
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Researchers testing a biopesticide to control spotted lanternfly in areas of Norristown Farm Park this past summer are encouraged by the results and say they may have discovered a very effective weapon to stamp out the invasive pests.

Heather Leach, a spotted lanternfly specialist at Penn State's entomology department in State College, said a fungal pathogen contained in a spray used in July by the researchers was successful in killing spotted lanternfly nymphs swarming the trees at the park.

"When we first did this, we found about two weeks after we sprayed we got a 50% reduction in the population in those plots," Leach said. "So we were really pretty encouraged by this data, especially since this was just one application."

Leach said the biopesticide doesn't affect humans, animals, streams or other bodies of water and fish living in them. But it is proving deadly to the spotted lanternfly.

She said the researchers concluded the spray was most effective on the nymphs although a spra