Deployed to catch spotted lanternflies, naturalists say the tree wrappings are killing too many other creatures and need to stop.


The heart of the summer is here, and so are hordes of spotted lanternflies. They’re probably sucking on plants outside your window right now. Outside you might step on one if the opportunity presents itself, and, like a lot of Philadelphians, you might go further in a quest to eliminate the invasive bugs.

Over the past few years Philadelphians have been using everything from flip flops to fire to kill lanterflies.

Spotted lanternfly
Photo by Magi Kern on Unsplash.

Many people also choose sticky tape—wide bands of adhesive paper wrapped around tree trunks. Spotted lanternflies of all ages get around by jumping or flying to the ground and then walking up the trunk or stem of the next plant they’d like to feed on. When they hit sticky tape they get stuck in the adhesive, where they eventually die.

However, lots of other critters also get stuck in the tape and die. These include harmless bugs like harvestmen (a.k.a. daddy longlegs) as well as larger animals like woodpeckers and flying squirrels. (If you find an animal trapped in sticky tape, trim away as much of the surrounding tape as you can and bring the victim to a wildlife rehab clinic where experts can complete the delicate liberation)

Local naturalists are working to spread the word about the dangers of sticky tape. Check out the No Sticky Tape website to learn more about wildlife-friendly alternatives and find printables to share with your neighbors.

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