NEW YORK (PIX11) — They’ve been bugging us all summer long, but unfortunately the spotted lanternfly is not going away anytime soon.
You’ve probably swatted one or two. There’s been an influx of them in New York City in recent months, where they have found hearty nourishment.
Invasive species specialist Brian Eshenaur from Cornell University said the crop-eating insects are more noticeable toward the end of summer because of their natural life cycle.
“Spotted laternflies are new to New York City, and they’re taking advantage of plants that are out there,” according to Eshenhaur.
They pose a risk by feasting on agricultural crops, particularly grape vineyards and apple orchards.
“They excrete honeydew that drips down as a sticky mess. That honeydew can attract yellow jackets and honey bees. There’s an increased risk from trees that have a lot of lanternflies,” Eshenaur explained.
They suck out the sap of trees and other wooden plants. The good news is that while the laternflies will bug us, they pose no threat to lives.
“They do not bite, they do not sting, and they don’t harm pets as well,” the insect specialist noted.
But they certainly can be annoying when they descend upon you during a walk in the park or a day at the beach. Eshenaur suggested one way to get rid of them: “Stomping on them is one good way.”
Vacuum cleaners are another way to reduce the lanternfly population. Recommended by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Westchester County Parks recently deployed vacuums to suck up the bugs from the surface of tree trunks, branches and leaves.
“Killing them can be helpful because if you’re killing the adult at a time before they’re laying eggs, you can reduce the potential population for next year,” Eshenaur said.
The lanternfly population should diminish as the weather turns colder. But as they depart, they leave behind their eggs that can survive in subzero temperatures, meaning we can expect them to hatch sometime next spring.
But with the new preventative measures being taken, there should be fewer of them in 2024.