Officials Warn Northeast Residents to Kill New Invasive Species of Insects

by Courtney Blackann

“Kill it! Squash it! Smash it!” is the mantra the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is warning residents about an invasive insect that’s overtaking areas in the northeastern United States.

While the spotted lanternfly looks interesting – and even beautiful – they’re pests, authorities are warning. The creatures appear tan with black spots. Their abdomen are yellow and black. Additionally, they may also show patches of red and white. The insects are about as big as a butterfly.

The invasive insect arrived from China in 2014 and has been seen in at least six states in the northeast, including Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Connecticut and Virginia. The pesky bug has also been sighted in Indiana.

While not harmful to humans, the spotted lanternfly could leave a lasting impact to the economy as they feed on fruit farms, destroying acres of crops. Apples, walnuts, maple, hops, and grapes aren’t safe as long as these bugs are around, according to Fox News.

The multimillion-dollar-per-year industry could be greatly affected if an infestation takes over the agriculture of these farms. Officials are warning residents to be on the lookout and take precautions.

The bugs are capable of laying 30 to 50 eggs at a time. The insects also secrete honeydew, which can encourage the growth of black mold. Residents should look for oozing tree sap and egg build-ups around tree trunks. These could be signs of an infestation.

“If you see a Spotted Lanternfly, help us Stomp it Out,” New Jersey’s Department of Agriculture said.

Arizona Deals With Insect Infestation

Another area of the States is feeling a little buggy as well. Recently, residents of Arizona discussed feeling plagued with an overwhelming amount of bugs this summer. Many complained about the large amounts of moths and other insects.

Interestingly, the source of the bugs comes from the moderate change in temperatures compared with last year, authorities reported.

“Last year the conditions were so harsh. It was very dry; it was very hot. We didn’t see great numbers of insects the last couple of years,” Gene Hall, manager for University of Arizona Insect Collection, tells AZFamily.

An active monsoon season could be to blame for the excess numbers of bugs in the area. Arizonians were also warned to keep lights low amid the overwhelming insect-a-thon.

Residents in the area shared what they’re doing to keep the flying critters at bay.

“As soon as the sun goes up, we try and turn off all of the lights,” Arizonan Melissa Coble said.

Another resident, Barbara Smith, echoed this.

“Light is just something they love so we’ve been living a very holistic lifestyle with candles and stuff like that,” she says.