PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Authorities are urging us all to do what we can to fight back against the spread of the spotted lanternfly, even killing the invasive pest if possible. However, it turns out that one method of catching the fly is actually harming some other animals.
You’ve probably never really considered the damage that the sticky paper can do.
“About roughly on average five times a day,” Philadelphia Metro Wildlife Center Director Rick Schubert said. “Animals getting caught on the spotted lanternfly paper that you put on trees.”
But, Schubert has quickly become an expert.
He is the director of the Philly Metro Wildlife Center in Norristown and treats thousands of animals a year.
Now, with people desperate to rid their homes and yards of spotted lanternflies, he says the end doesn’t justify the means if other animals get caught in the popular adhesive method used to catch them.
“In my opinion, no. There is a way to alleviate it if you do need to use the tape, you can put hardware cloth around it so that the bugs can still stick to it but larger animals cannot,” Schubert said.
An owl is the latest victim.
“His feathers were in really bad shape, took a lot of cleaning,” Schubert said.
The owl has been at the wildlife center for three days and is being carefully washed and aided back to health.
“We then have to very carefully use a solvent to get the animal out and get the solvent off and then rehab the animal to get them back into the wild,” Schubert said.
He says there are ways to minimize the damage. If a critter is caught, cover the rest of the tape with paper towel to limit exposure.
He also recommends installing a small wire collar around your tree.
“So bugs can still crawl in between that but birds don’t get stuck and make contact with the paper,” Schubert said.