The Ugly Truth About Beautiful Spotted Lanternflies
Bright and striking colors in nature are often associated with beauty and vibrancy. However, Spotted Lanternflies are certainly the exception.
A Devil in Disguise: Why Are They So Striking?
Spotted Lanternflies are so eye-catching and pretty with their vibrant and contrasting color palette. However, this striking appearance is actually their survival strategy, called aposematism, defined as the vibrant colors animals use to signal their toxicity to potential predators. In the case of the spotted lanternfly, their color scheme is a defense mechanism to keep birds away.
While their beautiful color and vibrant spots may serve as a warning to predators, the overall coloration of the Spotted Lanternfly also helps them to blend into their surroundings. Their grayish-brown wings allow them to camouflage themselves against tree bark, making it difficult for predators to spot them. Additionally, their vibrant red hind wings are hidden while at rest, further aiding in their camouflage.
Despite their deceptive attractiveness, Spotted Lanternflies are anything but beneficial. This invasive pest wreaks havoc on vegetation, destroying agricultural crops, particularly grapevines, fruit trees, and hardwood trees, by feeding on the sap. This weakens the plants, making them susceptible to diseases, and can even lead to plant death.
JP McHale has just launched a special Spotted Lanternfly treatment consisting of a topical tree oil (exterior liquid spray), which is applied to the foliage (leaves) and trunk/branches of the trees. Treatments are targeted at the host pest and not pollinators or other insects.