If you spot this insect, officials say to kill it. Here’s why

It looks like the United States has a new natural predator, and government officials are urging people to kill it if spotted. Don’t be deceived by this spotted insect’s attractive appearance. Known as the lanternfly, this bug can cause significant damage.

Scientifically called Lycorma delicatula, the lanternfly is notorious for its harmful impact on over 70 plant species, including various plants, fruits, and trees. These flies have insatiable appetites and reproduce at a tremendous rate.

While lanternflies don’t venture far on their own, they easily hitch rides on animals, humans, and vehicles.

When lanternflies feed, they produce a fluid called honeydew. This honeydew encourages mold growth and weakens the health of plants.

In summary, these insects pose a serious threat to our efforts to combat climate change.

First identified in Pennsylvania in 2014, the lanternfly menace is being taken very seriously. Pennsylvania has even issued the “Spotted Lanternfly Order of Quarantine and Treatment.” This order enforces fines and criminal penalties on anyone who deliberately moves the insect through RVs, grills, tractors, and other means.

The issue extends beyond Pennsylvania. The New York Department of Agriculture is also tackling the problem head-on. Lanternflies are particularly drawn to grapes, posing an imminent threat to the vineyards of Finger Lakes and Long Island. New York State has therefore issued directives for people to collect and kill any lanternflies they find. They recommend putting the flies in a jar with rubbing alcohol and then freezing them as a method of extermination.

Researchers are doing all they can to manage the lanternfly population before these insects cause even more damage. In the face of a climate crisis, quick action is necessary to protect Earth’s biodiversity. Watch out, spotted lanternfly; we are determined to tackle this head-on.


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