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Bluebird eating spotted lanternfly

How Birdwatching Can Combat Spotted Lanternfly

Pennsylvania is now officially under siege from Spotted Lanternfly! This insect is highly destructive, and one of the biggest problems in controlling them is that they have no known predators here in the United State. Penn State is taking measures to change that by studying the habits of local birds, and they need help from bird watchers!

Studying Bird Eating Habits

Penn State is conducting a study now to find out which birds are eating spotted Lanternfly. This study could open up many possibilities in the fight against the invasive insect.

“Because the spotted lanternfly is a non-native insect, it doesn’t have natural enemies in the U.S. to keep its numbers in balance,” said Kelli Hoover, professor of entomology in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. “Finding predators that live in our environment would be a great biological control option and useful in guiding management practices.”

Kelli and her team plan to place bird feeders at strategic locations at Penn State, Millbrook Marsh Nature Center in Centre County, and at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center in Huntingdon County. These will be filled with food that attract certain types of birds. But, first, they need to know which birds to study.

Destructive and Invasive

Spotted Lanternfly is doing damage to trees and crops all across PA, and each year they multiply in record numbers. For homeowners, they cause property damage, put trees in distress, and attract dangerous, stinging wasps to your yard. Studies like this one at Penn State aim to give us a better understanding of how to eradicate the species and keep it in check!

To learn more, read Everything You Need to Know About Spotted Lanternfly.

Calling all Birdwatchers!

The Penn State researchers are asking bird watchers to be on the lookout for any birds who eat Spotted Lanternfly. When it comes to the predator-prey relationship, there are many things that can affect who eats who in nature. From the trees that the Spotted Lanternfly feed on, to their brightly colored markings which can act as a warning to predators, researchers are just scratching the surface.

If you are a birder and you would like to contribute your findings to this Penn State Study, send an email to [email protected]

Author: Jeanne Hafner

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