The spotted lanternfly that’s threatening millions of dollars worth of crops and affecting the quality of life of millions of Pennsylvanians doesn’t have an abundance of natural predators, which is one of the reasons why lanternflies themselves are increasingly abundant. But one species that enjoys a spotted lanternfly snack is the praying mantis.
These photos of a praying mantis enjoying one of its favorite new treats were taken in Hellertown by a Saucon Source reader, and are shared here with his permission.
The Morning Call recently reported that there is no conclusive scientific evidence to support the use of praying mantises to help combat the lanternfly invasion the state is currently experiencing.
However, there have been anecdotal reports this summer of individuals purchasing mantises specifically so they can eat spotted lanternflies on or around their properties, and there is considerable chatter online about the use of one insect to control the other.
There are also videos posted online, such as the one below, that show how a praying mantis kills the spotted lanternfly. And killing them is what the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is asking all residents who encounter them to do.
Certainly, if you have lanternflies and you spot a praying mantis in the vicinity, you might want to give him (or her) a helping hand by pointing them in the right direction. Or else, simply leave them alone and allow the laws of nature to work in your favor.
For more information about spotted lanternflies in Hellertown, click here. Visit the Penn State Extension website for information on how to combat the spotted lanternfly, how to obtain a permit if you have a business in the quarantine area and how to report sightings.
Residents can also call the PSE hotline at 1-888-422-3359 with questions on spotted lanternfly management or to report a sighting.