Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Spotted lanternfly (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae) nymphal dispersion patterns and their influence on field experiments.

Abstract

The spotted lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae) (White, 1845), is an invasive pest in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Understanding this pest's dispersion patterns is fundamental for development of management and surveillance programs. To address this knowledge gap, we quantified spotted lanternfly nymph dispersion patterns by instar for rural and urban/suburban habitats, and we compared the number of sample units required for sticky traps and in situ visual counts to estimate population densities at several precisions. In addition, we assessed the ability of two experimental designs (completely random and randomized complete block) to detect management practices' impacts in the field. All instars typically followed an aggregated dispersion pattern. Sample size and time requirements for checking and replacing sticky traps and for conducting in situ counts were similar, but in situ counts do not require purchasing traps, installation time, or delays before treatment, and do not remove insects. Although the cost for using in situ counts is likely less than for sticky traps, early instar spotted lanternfly nymph populations are harder to visually detect than later instars because of their small size, which may negate any cost advantage when treatments are applied early. In general, using a randomized complete block design resulted in higher statistical power than a completely random design, allowing detection of proportional population reductions of 10-20% less with equal replication. Studies aiming to evaluate treatments that reduce spotted lanternfly numbers by less than 60% will require researchers to evaluate the feasibility of using the required large sample sizes.