The infestation of the spotted lanternfly has left even experts in the dark. However, one Shippensburg University student had some flickering ideas on how to deal with the invasive species plaguing Pennsylvania.

Biology graduate student Kasey Long focused her summer research on this invasive, black-spotted insect. Long’s master thesis concentrated on determining if the spotted lanternfly had a behavioral attraction to a particular lure. The tricky part was to generate a trap that would attract the spotted lanternflies but no other insects.

In working with the Schuylkill Conservation District in Pottsville, Long had the ability to conduct her research through the performance of trap testing. She applied her knowledge of band transection sampling to determine tree compositions and ages from her undergraduate and graduate courses at Shippensburg University. In order to execute the experiment, Long set up various lures all that had different plants and scents. Long checked the lures twice a week and recorded her observations for further analysis with help from faculty in the Biology Department.

“My research enhances my experience at Ship because it allows me to work with invasive species in a real-world setting, rather than working with just a textbook or professor’s lecture,” Long said. 

The results of Long’s research enabled her to apply real-world problems happening in the surrounding environment.

Throughout Long’s summer research, she discovered that she was more interested in invasive species and their safe management. She will continue pursuing this direction upon graduation.