Prevention of Spotted Lanternfly Infestation in Vineyards Using a Physical Barrier

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2021: $14,996.00
Projected End Date: 02/29/2024
Grant Recipient: M&M Vineyards
Region: Northeast
State: Pennsylvania
Project Leader:


  • Fruits: grapes


  • Pest Management: integrated pest management, physical control

    Proposal summary:

    We propose to test a physical barrier to stop the invasion of spotted lanternfly (SLF) into commercial vineyards. This barrier will be cost effective and greatly diminish insecticide applications. SLF is an invasive planthopper native to Asia. It was first discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014 and has since spread to 9 eastern states. SLF feeds on sap from plants with a strong preference for economically important commodities including grapes. This feeding reduces vine health and vine’s ability to survive winter conditions. Within the past three years, growers have increased their insecticide applications by 250% as compared to before the SLF infestation (7). Recent estimates suggest that SLF could cause estimated damage $325 million per year if uncontrolled. The PA wine industry values over $1.4 billion per year, ranks 5th in grape production nationally, and has over 300 wineries. If the damage from SLF continues in vineyards, the economic losses from this insect could be staggering. The current management approach for SLF is the prophylactic application of insecticides (every 3-5 days). However, while SLF are killed from insecticide applications, this approach can still be ineffective from rapid re-infestation of SLF from the surrounding landscape (6). This proposal seeks to erect a 40’ high physical barrier surrounding the vineyard to prevent SLF migration from the surrounding landscape. Notably, this measure would both decrease the use of insecticide applications and the number of SLF in the vineyard. We emphasize the need to rapidly develop new methods in controlling this significant pest in vineyards.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The proposal seeks to address if a physical barrier would intercept adult SLF migration from the surrounding landscape into our vineyard. Followings are the key methods to assess efficacy of the treatment:

    1. In early spring 2021, the number of egg masses per vine will be counted (reflecting 2020 SLF presence) and this will serve as a baseline for year 2022 egg masses counts (reflecting 2021 presence).
    2. The amount of sooty mold on leaves will be recorded on the vines both within and outside of the barrier. similar data during 2020 growing season were collected and will serve as baseline for the intensity of SLF presence in the vineyard in 2021.
    3. The number of dead SLF at the base of the netting wall will be counted regularly. This will provide a metric of how many SLF have been prevented from entering the vineyard.
    4. The number of SLF per vine in the untreated (no barrier) and treated (protected with barrier) areas will be counted throughout the season to assess effectiveness of the barrier.

    If successful, this method provides a practical, economical and perhaps the only sustainable agriculture solution currently to prevent SLF damage in vineyards of all sizes.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.