Beware The Spotted Lanternfly

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Spotted lanternflies have stunning coloring (Credit:

To the untrained eye, the spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) may look like a beautiful butterfly. The insect's front wings are light brown with black spots, while its hind wings have contrasting patches of red and black with a white band in between. However, the spotted lanternfly is a pest that feasts on and damages crops. It poses a serious threat to farmers across America.

Where can spotted lanternflies be found in the US?

Spotted lanternflies can now be found in 14 US states (Credit:

Spotted lanternflies are native to China. The insects are believed to have arrived in the US attached to Asian imports in 2012. The first infestation was detected in Pennsylvania in 2014. But efforts to eradicate the insects failed, and they have since spread to 13 other states. They include Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Virginia, and West Virginia.

How do spotted lanternflies travel?

The insects spread primarily through human activity. Adult spotted lanternflies often hitch rides on trunks, wheels, or bumpers. People also inadvertently help transport the eggs, which are laid in clumps of 30 or more on almost any surface. This includes camping trailers and train cars.

Why are spotted lanternflies so feared?

Spotted lanternflies can cause widespread destruction to trees and crops (Credit: F Delventhal/ CC-BY-SA-2.0/ Flickr)

Spotted lanternflies are not harmful to humans. But they can create havoc for farmers. The parasite feasts on the sap of 70 species of trees and crops. This weakens the plants and impacts their ability to bear fruit. Additionally, the insect excretes a sugary liquid which causes mold to grow on the plant. This inhibits the plant's ability to photosynthesize. With no energy to survive and grow, it eventually dies. Grape growers are particularly wary because the insects can destroy entire vineyards.

What to do if you see a spotted lanternfly

Spotted lanternflies should be killed on sight (

Spotted lanternflies typically begin to hatch in May and June. This means there may currently be some egg masses in your garden or even on your car bumper. Experts recommend killing them by putting the entire clump into a sealed plastic bag containing hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol. Adult specimens should also be immediately destroyed. Most importantly, report any sightings to your local agriculture office. They can quarantine the area and stop the harmful insects from spreading further.



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  • caddai
    caddai20 days
    we need to get ride of them as soon as possible and as quick as possible
    • caddai
      caddai20 days
      Yes kill them they are destroying our crops
      • tr3y
        tr3yabout 1 month
        they are harmful so we NEED to kill them. If we don't we cant have food and then your gonna want to et rid of them😐
        • aidenkale
          aidenkaleabout 1 month
          Don't kill them!!!
          • omg-girl57
            omg-girl57about 1 month
            Don't hurt them pls don't😔
            • tr3y
              tr3yabout 1 month
              we have to or else we cant have food 😐
            • r2013
              r2013about 2 months
              yeah the eat it to survive
              • r2013
                r2013about 2 months
                they look cute
                • cutepinklover
                  Don't hurt them
                  • zakakipa-168555618439
                    I agree they should not hurt all of them
                    • elena_rose936
                      That is harmful! But I still don't want ALL of these butterflies wiped off of Earth... they are still living creatures after all! Just decrease the number of them, but leave a few! Its kinda mean, too... and because every time they are killed every time they are seen, they might be pretty stressed about it! We have to give them a chance!🦋
                      • adroit_avimimus
                        These aren't butterflies! These are pests, and though they may seem pretty, masses of them can damage farms that produce the fruit and veggies YOU eat! Trust me, if they weren't as indirectly harmful to humans as they are now, people would love to have them around!
                      • froggyplayer
                        froggyplayer4 months
                        But they aren't butterflies?