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Can Birds Help Us Defeat The Invasive Spotted Lanternfly



UNIVERSITY PARK, PA, Amy Duke — Do birds find the spotted lanternfly to be a tasty treat or a nauseating nibble? That is one of the questions researchers at Penn State hope to answer, and they are seeking citizen scientists, especially bird watchers, to help in their quest for knowledge.


“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.”


Hoover and Anne Johnson, a doctoral candidate in entomology, are spearheading a study to examine the potential for native birds and insects to feed on the spotted lanternfly, which is an invasive insect from Asia that first was found in North America in Berks County, Pennsylvania, in 2014. The pest s