STATEN ISLAND (PIX11) — A Staten Island mom hoping to enjoy the last few weeks of summer said the invasion of spotted, red lanternflies “is making me lose my mind.”
Lauren Raffaele, who lives in the Aspen Knolls section of the island’s south shore, sent PIX11 News a video and photos of the lanternflies–and their eggs–which are latching on to her screen door, patio, and pool hose.
“I spoke with the Department of Agriculture,” Raffaele said. “They want me to put the specimens in my freezer.”
Raffaele, a school paraprofessional who had the summer off with her two children, said the lanternflies are very invasive.
“They are jumping at me. My son is scared of them. They jumped in his hair,” Raffaele said.
At one point on the video, you see Raffaele stepping on the flies with her sandals, as one of her children shrieks.
“Nice eggs,” Raffaele commented, as she kept the cellphone video going. “There are hundreds! They’re everywhere!”
The spotted lanternflies, which don’t harm humans and first garnered attention in New Jersey this year, are pests that feed on more than 70 types of plants and trees.
City Councilman Joseph Borelli, a Republican from Staten Island’s south shore, wrote letters to the city’s health commissioner, as well as the chief of the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation, noting the flies are “reproducing at an alarming rate.”
Back on Aug. 6, Borelli’s office sponsored a workshop for residents who wanted to build lanternfly traps.
Raffaele said she contacted an exterminator, but the man told her spraying the insects wouldn’t help.
She added that even though the flies don’t bite, they’re such a nuisance that “my mother won’t come to visit me.”
The mom of a 13-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl said they can’t enjoy the backyard for summer break, and the fly invasion is affecting her mental health.
“I close my eyes, and I see them,” Raffaele said.