Skip to main content

Spotted lanternflies are invasive and dangerous, but insecticidal soap can help get rid of them – here’s how

How to get rid of spotted lanternflies

There are many common garden pests, and some of them can do quite a lot of damage. Although most pests are annoying, the spotted lanternfly has developed a reputation beyond being a mere nuisance. If you’ve heard of them and wondered why spotted lanternflies were so terrible or what you should do if you find one, we have the answers. We’ll even show you how to make your own insecticidal soap to deal with them!




1 hour

What You Need

  • Bag

  • Alcohol or fire (optional)

  • Vegetable oil

  • Dish soap

  • Water

  • Spray bottle

A spotted lanternfly
Image used with permission by copyright holder

What is a spotted lanternfly?

Spotted lanternflies are highly invasive insects that first appeared in the U.S. in 2014. They have brown top wings, red second wings, and black spots. They’re sap-sucking insects, which leave oozing bite wounds in plants. The wounds are easily infected, and the waste left behind by a spotted lanternfly is a common fuel for fungal infections.

Spotted lanternflies spread quickly, as they will lay eggs on practically anything. When the item the eggs are on is moved, the eggs move with it, spreading the spotted lanternfly farther afield. Although they are most common on the East Coast, they have been steadily spreading west and can now be found in some parts of the central U.S.

A person spraying a pest control solution on some roses
LDprod / Shutterstock

What should you do if you see one?

If you see a spotted lanternfly, here's what to do:

Step 1: Report the sighting to your state’s Department of Agriculture or invasive species tip line.

Many states request photographs of the insects, so taking a picture of the spotted lanternfly is helpful in most cases.

Step 2: Squish the spotted lanternfly or spray it with insecticidal soap.

Step 3: Avoid moving any materials near where you found the spotted lanternfly.

Step 4: Inspect the area carefully for eggs.

Spotted lanternflies lay their eggs in clusters and then cover them with a protective substance that is white at first, then it turns gray or brown.

Step 5: Scrape the eggs off and place them in a bag.

Step 6: Destroy the eggs by adding alcohol to the bag, smashing the eggs, or setting them on fire.

Step 7: Keep a close eye on your garden for any other spotted lanternflies or eggs.

Hand holding a spray bottle
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How to make an insecticidal soap

Insecticidal soap is an easy way to get rid of spotted lanternflies and other pests. Here’s how to make your own:

Step 1: Mix 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil with 1 tablespoon of dish soap.

Step 2: Add the mixture to 1 quart of water, mixing well.

Step 3: Fill a clean spray bottle.

Step 4: Store extra insecticidal soap in a dark, cool place.

Step 5: Spray the insecticidal soap directly onto the spotted lanternfly.

Invasive species can wreak havoc on an ecosystem, and spotted lanternflies are no different. As they spread farther and farther west, it’s important to keep a close eye on your garden. You can protect your garden and the environment by reporting them, squishing them, spraying them, and removing their eggs. It’s a simple process with a big impact!

Editors' Recommendations

Cayla Leonard
Cayla Leonard is a writer from North Carolina who is passionate about plants.  She enjoys reading and writing fiction and…
Does Epsom salt kill ants (and is it safe)? Here’s what we’ve found
Could this inexpensive staple really be the solution to your pesky ant problem?
Hand in a brown and white glove holding a pile of Epsom salt next to an evergreen tree

Ants play a vital role in the ecosystem, but they can also be a major pest for gardeners. While the ants themselves aren't necessarily a problem, they can protect and support more harmful pest species, such as aphids. Ants can also take advantage of damage done by other pests, exacerbating existing problems.

There are many products on the market that promise to kill ants, but some of them are also dangerous for animals, plants, or people. If you’re looking for a safer alternative to get rid of your infestation, you may have heard that Epsom salt will do the trick. Does it actually work, though, and are there any side effects you should be aware of? There's no need to keep wondering, "Does Epsom salt kill ants?" -- this handy guide will answer all your questions!

Read more
How to keep pests away from your delicate basil plants
Keep basil pests away with these tips
Basil plant in pot

Basil is a delicious herb that's easy to grow and extremely versatile. Unfortunately, there are some basil pests that also find it delicious. Luckily, there are easy ways to keep your basil plant safe from pests. Here are some tips for figuring out what is eating your basil and how to apply organic pest control methods so you can enjoy your basil in peace.

Read more
Loofah plants are unique and interesting vegetables – here’s how to add them to your garden
How to grow and care for your own loofah plants
A ripe loofah gourd on a vine

Summer vegetable gardens are often filled with tomatoes, cucumbers, and beans, but there are other options for more adventurous gardeners. The loofah plant, sometimes also spelled luffa, is a prime example. Loofahs are tasty, useful, a great conversation starter, and even make wonderful gifts. Want to know more about growing this unusual vegetable? Here’s your simple guide to growing loofahs.
What are loofah plants?
When you hear the word loofah, your first thought is likely the sponges — and you’d be right! Loofahs are a member of the cucumber family native to South and Southeast Asia. When the vegetables are young, they’re edible and have a flavor similar to zucchini. If the vegetables are left to mature and dry, then they can be harvested and turned into sponges.

Loofahs are warm-weather vegetables, and they don't tolerate the cold. Additionally, they are annuals. If you want to keep growing them, you’ll need to plant more each spring.

Read more