Beware The Spotted Lanternfly
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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 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 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 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.
Resources: nhm.ac.uk, NPR.com, aphis.usda.gov
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- lee1231 dayMan that’s bad!!
- halalboy1992 daysThis is bad because what if they come to where I live, Canada! Then spread all over the world!
- sskullz2 daysi live in canada too!! but this is bad
- sm0lpotato75492 daysI kind of feel bad for the lantern flies. it isnt their fault that they exist, or that they eat important crops.
- aquariaie2 daysI have picked up a lanternfly before and it was friendly
- 30jyang3 daysEw last year I say one in the elevator and killed it
- bjjboy113 dayshopefully those bugs get wiped off the face of the earth
- vojebujusasy7 daysI don't like those bugs🎈
- flickybear104 daysyeah me neither
- jadat4 daysCool
- jyhebigodyzu7 daysI wonder If people or other animals eat them
- happyjoe3 daysyum
- flickybear104 daysyuck no thanks
- angelxfqiry8 daysThat laternflys so bad for the crops such as grapes and etc I hope they go extinct
- sm0lpotato75492 daysThey shoulnt go extinct, they have to exist for a reason.
- slothf128 daysthese guys are very harmful for the inverment i have them in my backyard there all around were i live they are very spredable but dont mix it up if bugs that help us look up spotted lantern bug chart of witch contry you live and it will show if they are enywhere near you be safe and have a good day