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  • Spotted Lantern fly on my figs

    I have heard a lot about this new pest that has been a topic of a lot of concern here in NJ as it is I believe in all neighboring states. I have seen a few now and then on some leaves on my figs. But they just sit there without seeming to be doing any visible damage. Could it be that the sap in fig leaves acts as a deterrent to this pest. I am inclined to leave them alone, not prepared to spray my figs with some toxic chemical to control them.

    What is others' experience and opinion about this, especially in the NE of the country
    Location: NJ, zone 6b
    Wish List: BNR

  • #2
    You might want to watch this video from another fig grower in NJ:

    I expect to see them on my figs in a year or two unfortunately. It would be interested to hear from growers in PA who have dealt with them for a while.
    D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
    WL: Castillon, Fort Mill Dark, White Baca


    • PacNorWreck
      PacNorWreck commented
      Editing a comment
      Interesting also that Lou saw the bugs for weeks and weeks on his figs and only after there were a bazillion of them did they seem to start attacking his fruit. Strategic little buggers!

  • #3
    I'm in central NJ and noticed them for the first time this year. I haven't noticed any damage yet but It's possible I'm just missing it. There has to be a reason they're attracted to fig trees.
    Ryan - Central NJ - Zone 6B


    • Harish-C
      Harish-C commented
      Editing a comment
      From what I have seen so far these pests seem to have landed on fig trees by mistake. First off, they are not in large numbers, secondly, they don't seem to have done any damage, visible or otherwise. I suspect fig leaves are not their thing.

  • #4
    Not in large numbers.....yet.
    East Coast, Zone 7a
    WL: Boysenberry Blush, CdDB, BNR


    • #5
      It isn't so much the immediate damage they do but the fungus they spread into the trees. The whole tree dies. These awful pests breed fast, swarm the trees and can kill entire forests quickly.
      7B Southern NJ


      • #6
        I physically knock them off when I see them on my trees, which is a few almost all of the time. I've seen them for the last 3 years. They do seem to do a little damage to the plant stem, it's usually a little hole which bruises and heals, but this can spread potentially spread disease, so I do what I can to keep them off, including an occasional scheduled spraying. They can be devastating to grapes, which I have, sucking the life out of the vine, so I want to prevent this from happening to the figs. Not taking chances here. I spray preventatively for fig mites, rust, ambrosia beetles and now these guys.
        Joe, Central Bucks, PA Zone 6b/7a


        • Harish-C
          Harish-C commented
          Editing a comment
          What do you spray to control these spotted lantern flies?

        • JoePAFig
          JoePAFig commented
          Editing a comment
          Harish-C, Bifenthrin and permethrin, I alternate, only a couple times per season. They a
          re contact insecticides, so you have to hit the bug. Bifenthrin has some residual activity, so it will last a bit and the bug walking on it can kill it. I see dead ones, so I know it works.

          If you get really bored, you can also hunt them down with a bug-a-salt, just watch the leaves and trunks.
          Last edited by JoePAFig; 07-30-2021, 12:23 PM.

      • #7
        These buggers lay eggs in my landscape trees which end up hatching and spreading to the rest of my yard in the Spring. I have my landscape trees treated/sprayed in early Spring and I also spray using Sevin and Dr. Earth when I see some on my figs. If you let these things go, they'll definitely overwhelm your yard and once they mature, they're hard to kill.
        Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania / Zone 6b


        • #8
          Originally posted by CNJFIGS View Post
          There has to be a reason they're attracted to fig trees.
          It's because of the way they feed that they have a preference for figs. SLFs have piercing mouthparts but relatively weak muscles associated with their pumping mechanism for sucking up sap, so they rely on the turgor pressure (which relates to vigor and sap flow) of the plant to push the fluid from the stems/branches into their mouths in order to feed. Thus, vigorously growing plants with high sap flow tend to be preferential for feeding. Plants like grape vines, virginia creeper, figs, mulberries, stone fruit, poplars, willows, sumacs, etc. SLFs are a type of planthopper, so you may have noticed similar plant preferences for some of the other planthoppers and leafhoppers that we have.
          Tony - west PA, zone 6a/5b


          • cepeders
            cepeders commented
            Editing a comment
            Interesting. I was wondering why they seem to like figs and mulberries so much.