Fears of spotted lanternflies hiding in your Christmas tree are overblown, expert says

A spotted lanternfly.
Photo credit Paul Kurtz/KYW Newsradio
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — As you head out to get a Christmas tree, experts say any fears of spotted lanternflies hatching in your home are overblown. 

Spotted lanternflies hiding in your Christmas tree might make for a sexy, clickbait headline, but Penn State Extension educator Emelie Swackhamer says spotted lanternflies aren’t fans of pine trees, so it’s unlikely you’d find any eggs on your Christmas tree. 

But in the rare case eggs did hatch in your home, there's nothing to worry about. 

"The nymphs are really tiny and there’s really nothing for them to feed on. They don’t like to feed on Christmas trees, so they would die very soon, probably within a day so you could just vacuum them up," she explained. 

She says lanternflies don’t eat wood, so in the unlikely scenario they came in on a Christmas tree, they wouldn’t damage anything in your house.

And, even though they don’t generally feed on pine trees, lanternflies are known for laying eggs on anything, so it’s not a bad idea to give your tree an inspection before you bring it inside.  

The eggs look like dried mud or old chewing gum. You can scrape the eggs into hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol to kill them.

Swackhamer adds it’s more likely you might see praying mantis eggs on Christmas tree, which look like Styrofoam.  But she says they're the good guys, so snip off the branch and leave the eggs outside rather than destroy them.