Virtual Town Hall: Spotted Lanternfly Management Strategies and the Latest Updates

What have we learned about Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) since it was first discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014 that can be applied to help other communities and states that are on the edge of the SLF zones? As it continues to spread across the country, SLF will continue to have a significant environmental and economic impact on communities, landscapes, and properties.

Join us for the Virtual Town Hall: Spotted Lanternfly Management Strategies and the Latest Updates cohosted by the Society of Municipal Arborists and Rainbow Ecoscience. This virtual event is intended for municipal foresters, government agents, tree care and landscape professionals, and property/grounds managers. You’ll hear from university researchers, Department of Agriculture agents, and plant health care professionals about the latest control efforts and will learn how you can best manage this pest for your constituents and/or clients.

Date: 6/14/2022

Time: 10:00am-2:30 EDT

Free event


10:00am-10:10 am – Welcome

Erik Lindberg, Rainbow Ecoscience

  • Introduction of moderator
  • Safety brief
  • CEU process for the day
  • Q&A during each presentation
  • Review the day’s agenda
  • Introduction of speakers, roles, organizations, and bios

10:10am-10:55am – Spotted Lanternfly Biology, Life Cycle and Distribution

Abstract: Since the detection of the spotted lanternfly in North America in 2014 we have learned much about its identification, life cycle, where it occurs and its preferred hosts. Using this knowledge will help in the management of this pest.

Dr. Eric Day, Professor, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Bio: Eric Day is a faculty member in the Entomology Department at Virginia Tech. He is Manager of the Insect ID Lab located on the main campus in Blacksburg, VA. The lab handles over a
thousand samples per year from all over the state. Samples are from public, private and
commercial clients and samples can include mites and insects on vegetables, turf, fruit, trees and ornamentals, greenhouses, household and recreational areas, and livestock. Eric specializes in Insect Identification and Invasive Pest Surveys and has authored numerous Virginia Cooperative Extension publications.

10:55am-11:55am – Regulatory Update with New Populations, Quarantines, Pesticide Restrictions, Federal and State Efforts for Control

Abstract: This presentation will discuss the challenges, management strategies and control options being utilized by state, federal and other stakeholders using past successes and new research to slow the spread and reduce populations in NJ. We will cover the best time to apply pesticide and what chemicals we are using at each point of the insect’s life cycle. We will discuss other control measures such as several types of biocontrol, including parasitoids, entomopathogenic fungus and nematodes. We will cover different types of spray equipment being utilized in the field and their efficacy regarding SLF control. Host tree and plant preference of nymphs and adults will be discussed along with possible feeding nutrient needs. Lastly, we will touch upon some new research being conducted on hosts and the biology of the insect..

Paul Kurtz, Entomologist, New Jersey Department of Agriculture

Bio: Paul has been working for the NJ Department of Agriculture for over 24 years as an entomologist. He has supervised large programs such as the Asian Longhorned Beetle program, NJ Forest Pest Outreach and Survey, and Plum Pox Virus Programs. Recently, he has focused his attention on the Emerald Ash Borer and Spotted Lanternfly programs. Paul also writes and executes various federal surveys throughout the state for non-native pests in forests and crops. In 1997-1998, he worked for The Philip E. Marucci Center for Blueberry and Cranberry Research and Extension as a research technician in the area of crop pests. Paul has a BS in Biology from Stockton University, BA from Drew University in Sustainable Development, and post-graduate education at Northeastern/Yale School of Forestry in Sustainable Development and Tropical Biology based in Costa Rica. To date he has traveled to 87 countries worldwide.

11:55am-12:05pm – Break

12:05pm- 12:50pm – Research and Management Strategies- Pros and Cons of Different Application Techniques

Abstract: Spotted lanternfly continues to spread to new regions of the country and will impact communities, businesses, and homeowners. Managing this pest for your clients will be critical to preventing honeydew and sooty mold damage caused by the feeding of this insect as well as mitigating its spread. The health of your client’s trees may also be impacted without proper protection leaving them more susceptible to other environmental issues. We will discuss factors for determining appropriate management strategies on your client’s property, as well as how to determine the best management options.

Mark Ware, Arborologist, Rainbow Ecoscience

Bio: Before joining Rainbow, Mark spent over ten years in the industry, including eight years with a national tree care company, gaining experience in general tree work, utility forestry, and plant health care. He is excited to further the professionalism, knowledge, and reputation of other arborists and the entire industry. His educational background is in landscape construction and ornamental horticulture. Mark is a resident of Pennsylvania, and his hobbies include travel, photography, and camping. His favorite tree is the Copper Beech. If he were hosting a dinner party and could invite any 3 guests, he would choose Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, and Chris Farley.

12:50pm-1:00pm – Break

1:00pm-2:30pm – Q&A Panel: Unique Learning Experiences Around Contracting and Implementation of SLF Management Strategies

Abstract: This session will provide a first-hand account of different government and organizational approaches to SLF management regarding what worked, didn’t work, and things learned along the way. Each participant will provide an individual account of how they have gone about management, and at the end, there will be an open discussion with pre-selected questions and questions submitted during the presentation.

Peter Benz, Owner, Plant Health Solutions

Bio: Peter Benz Jr. is part owner of Plant Health Solutions, located in Central Bucks County, Pennsylvania. This business specializes in the prevention, treatment and cure of diseases and pests in trees and shrubs. PHS has been contracted to work on the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Spotted Lanternfly Eradication Project for the last five years. PHS also works residentially throughout Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey on the suppression of Spotted Lanternfly feeding on favored plant materials.

Greg Parra, Staff Scientist, USDA-APHIS

Bio: Having grown up in California, Greg has always had a strong interest in agriculture and has worked in many different fields related to agriculture and horticulture since 1983 in both eastern and western states. This experience led to him working with the USDA beginning in 2004 due to the wide ranging issues and programs that the Science and Technology group of USDA PPQ is engaged in. One of the areas of responsibility has been the Spotted Lanternfly, beginning in 2014 when it was first confirmed in Pennsylvania. His specific group within USDA provides the scientific and technical support to their two other core functional groups, Policy and Management, and Field Operations which most groups in each state are more familiar with. He works with several other members of his group and with support of their leadership they continue to collect and track the most current information and research results related to SLF to provide recommendations and science based information for decision making.

Katie Bielicki, SLF Project Coordinator, Delaware Department of Agriculture

Bio: Katie Bielicki works with the Delaware Department of Agriculture as the Spotted Lanternfly Program Coordinator. She graduated from Delaware State University with a degree in Wildlife Management in 2016. She started DDA in 2018 as the first casual seasonal to work with SLF, in 2020 she became the program coordinator though the state of Delaware. She works closely with the USDA to come up with the best practices to protect Delaware’s agriculture and slow the spread of Spotted Lanternfly by targeting high trafficked areas that are at risk for the most spotted lanternfly movement.

Matt Travis, State Plant Health Director, USDA-APHIS

Bio: Matthew A. Travis, “Matt”, is the Spotted Lanternfly Multi-State Coordinator (National Operations Manager) for Field Operations and is responsible for operations across 11 states and working with state and other partners to mitigate spotted lanternfly populations. Prior to this assignment Matt held positions as the Maryland and D.C. State Director for the USDA, State Regulatory Official for the nursery industry in Annapolis, Maryland, six years as an Urban Biologist with the University of Maryland, and five years as a contract Agricultural Researcher in Eastern Pennsylvania. Matt served in uniform for 27 years in the U.S. Army and Amy National Guard. Matt was raised on a small farm in southeastern, Pennsylvania and graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelor of Science in Entomology and Minor in Horticulture. He has also graduated from multiple military schools and institutions.

David Anderson, Director of product development and regulatory affairs, Rainbow Ecoscience

Bio: David “Dave” Anderson is the Director of product development and regulatory affairs for Rainbow Ecoscience and has been with the company for 16 years. Dave graduated from Iowa State University with a master's degree in Horticulture. In his role with Rainbow, Dave is responsible for developing new products and protocols along with managing EPA registrations. Dave has led Rainbow’s efforts in conducting research on spotted lanternfly and in developing effective treatment protocols. In addition, Dave has worked with state agencies to obtain 24C registrations, allowing more trees to be treated in state and USDA SLF management programs.

Adjourn: 2:30 PM EDT