Be Careful When Using Dappled Lantern Tape: It Can Capture and Injure Other Animals, Experts Say
STATEN ISLAND, NY – As the population of spotted lanternflies continues to rise in the Northeast, some people are taking matters into their own hands to trap them – using duct tape around trees.
The invasive insects were first discovered in New York State on Staten Island in 2020 and are native to China and Southeast Asia. The invasive hopper is known to be hard to spot, harder to kill, and bad for the environment.
Species often move up and down tree trunks, according to the Penn State Extension. Moving insects can be caught on the sticky surfaces of strips placed around trees, which can effectively destroy many Mottled Lanterns without the use of insecticides.
The strips are usually placed about four feet from the bottom of a tree and attached to the trunk. And the grip of the tape you use could determine how effectively you can catch different life stages of the spotted lanternfly.
Many people in infested areas have successfully used the bands, including on Staten Island.
But the Penn State Extension warns people to be careful when using the sticky tapes — they can pick up other creatures.
Other insects, some beneficial, have been caught on the strip. And sometimes a bird, a small mammal like a squirrel or other animals were caught.
Heather Leach, an associate of spotted lanternfly extension at Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, cautioned that there are several important things to consider when installing sticky tape, such as avoiding catching the unintended, untargeted creatures.
There are several practices owners can use to reduce the risk of capturing non-targets, especially larger creatures. One way is to reduce the width of the sticky strips, which would reduce the area encountered by a non-target animal. That would involve cutting commercially available tapes in half or in thirds, she said.
“Because the mottled lanterns are trapped on the tapes from the bottom up, this method (cutting the sticky tapes in half or in thirds) can capture the same number of insects and will help your supply of banding material last longer” , said Leach.
Another option is to build protection over the duct tape using a fence such as chicken wire or chicken wire to prevent large animals from coming into contact with the surface.
Leach said there is also a commercially available tape that uses a white fiber material to hold the sticky side of the tape facing inward away from the trunk of a tree, creating a sticky surface that is protected and reduces the potential to catch other animals.
“If you decide to use sticky strips, check them at least once a week,” Leach said. “If you capture an animal, don’t try to free it yourself. You could put the animal and yourself in danger.
If your sticky tape unintentionally captures an animal, you should contact a local animal control officer.
If an owner decides to rescue the animal, Leach suggests covering any exposed sticky material with plastic wrap or paper to reduce further entanglement, removing the tape from the tree as carefully as possible, then taking the animal away. animal to the nearest wildlife rehabilitation center.
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