NYC Pest Control Project for Invasive Species Kills Woodpecker Instead


An NYC pest control project that killed a woodpecker instead of the invasive species it was intended to kill was a colossal failure.

Sarah Valeri initially believed the dead birds with stray feathers she discovered Saturday attached to trees near Brooklyn Army Terminal were part of a grotesque art installation. Valeri was “horrified” when she got a closer look and discovered a live downy woodpecker attempting to escape a glue trap that had been wrapped all around the tree trunk.

The accidental avian slaughter brought on by glue traps that were ostensibly set up to kill the invasive species, spotted lanternflies, was what Valeri discovered-it wasn’t art.


Valeri thought that it was grisly.

Misguided Pest Control Project

Valeri, a painter and art therapist, sprang into action to save the woodpecker. The Wild Bird Fund described the project as a misguided attempt at pest control, and the bird eventually passed away along with dozens of others.

The Wild Bird Fund tweeted that many trees within the area were covered in sticky paper, probably to fend off spotted lanternflies.

An exterminator “immediately” removed the traps after authorities learned about the risks they posed, according to a representative for the New York City Economic Development Corporation, which manages Brooklyn Army Terminal.

The spokesperson stated that spotted lanternflies are known to harm and kill trees, so the exterminator initially suggested and installed glue traps low on the trees to safeguard the sap from the pests.

The corporation announced that going forward, they will not permit these kinds of traps on campus.

Invasive Species: Spotted Lantern Flies

This year, spotted lanternflies, which swarm tree trunks and flit through the air sucking in sap, have multiplied in number all over the city of New York.

A one-time call to kill the lanternfly on sight was made by the city’s parks department out of concern that its spread could impact the state’s grape vines.

However, authorities have cautioned New Yorkers against overreacting and taking unwise measures.

Glue Traps vs. Circle Traps

Catherine Quayle, the Wild Bird Fund’s social media director, said that using glue traps is one such unnecessary step.

She said that people need to be aware that glue traps kill anything that comes into contact with them without discrimination. She added that they never advocate the use of glue traps.

Quayle said the use of glue traps against spotted lanternflies is new, but the Wild Bird Fund has only dealt with glue traps intended for rodents that capture birds in the past.

The Wild Bird Fund suggests using “circle traps,” which are essentially plastic-coated tunnels that insects can enter, to catch lanternflies instead.

Such circle traps won’t develop into the avian death traps Valeri observed close to the Brooklyn Army Terminal, which consisted of a field of trees littered with dead birds, suffering live birds, and plucked feathers from other birds that had somehow come loose.

Read also: Biology Researchers Argue for Reconsidering the Benefits of Invasive Species 

Death by Stress

Quayle also cautioned good samaritans against attempting to free the trapped birds themselves from the glue traps. According to her, the Wild Bird Fund advises wrapping any sticky paper that is exposed in paper towels and putting the entire package, including the bird, inside an aerated container like a cardboard box.

The Wild Bird Fund or a certified wildlife rehabber should receive those containers with the birds inside of them.

But even then, she claimed, the birds were still in trouble.

Even when a bird is freed from a glue trap, it usually takes a long time for its feathers to grow back, according to the woman.

Quayle explained that the woodpecker Valeri attempted to save and the other birds most likely perished from stress.

Valeri said the news that the woodpecker had passed away disappointed her. She hopes that by killing it, people will be deterred from ever using glue traps again, whether they are being used to catch lanternflies as well as other wildlife, Patch reports.

Related article: Invasive Spotted Lanternfly that Kills Grapevines Could Reach California Wine Counties in Five Years 

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