This spring, sticky bands around trees are catching much more than spotted lanternflies.
The traps, wrapped around tree trunks, are catching birds, bats, squirrels and possums. Raven Ridge Wildlife Center in Washington Boro receives at least two calls a day for help with a trapped animal.
“This is serious,” says Tracie Young, Raven Ridge’s director and wildlife rehabilitator. “A lot of these animals are not surviving.”
Placing a barrier like hardware cloth or chicken wire over the bands allows the lanternflies to be trapped yet prevents animals from being stuck. There’s also a new type of trap that does not use sticky tape.
As spotted lanternflies hatch, now is the time to add traps to trees, stopping the spread of this invasive pest. Since the insect was first spotted in Pennsylvania in 2014, it has damaged grapevines, hops, fruit trees and more. Scraping egg masses is one way to kill the insect. Wrapping sticky bands around trees, especially tree of heaven, can catch nymphs as they walk up the tree.
(Story continues below photos)
Raven Ridge started getting calls about animals caught in the traps in the spring. The wildlife center rehabilitates injured, orphaned and abandoned wildlife.
“A lot of people are putting this tape up but they’re not thinking that this is baby season,” Young says. “This is when the baby wildlife is starting to explore their environment, working with their parents, learning to fly, going up a tree and crawling down.”
Every day, Raven Ridge gets two or three calls about animals trapped in the bands. Rescuing them is time-consuming for the rehabilitator.
The process starts with pain medication. The animal is removed from the trap and then cleaned. Depending on how stressed the animal is, the work stops for multiple rest breaks. Often the animals don’t survive.
“They’re so stressed out. They’re losing skin. They’re losing feathers,” Young says. “They’re dying.”
Placing a guard over the tree band will protect animals and still trap lanternflies. The guards can be made from wire, such as chicken wire, mesh or window screening.
Penn State Extension recently shared information about a new type of trap that captures spotted lanternfly and has less of a chance of capturing other bugs or birds. The circle trunk traps or pecan weevil traps can be purchased and modified to fit spotted lanternfly. Extension educators also shared instructions to make your own circle trap.