In just nine years, the spotted lanternfly has done enormous damage in the United States.
The invasive species threatens and destroys fruit crops, trees, and other plants, so one Reddit user triumphantly shared the fate of a mass of spotted lanternfly nymphs they found on their property earlier this year.
“It’s the time of the year where spotted lanternfly nymphs will be appearing in mass numbers. I’ve noticed they like to gather in large groups to harvest sap from the young vines on my wisteria bush,” the poster wrote.
“I’ve made a habit of walking the perimeter and squashing as many as I can after I’ve finished watering my garden. Stay vigilant! Some of our favorite crops are vulnerable to these invasive bugs!”
Upward of three dozen insects met their maker at the hand of this poster, who showed another photo: their hand covered in the remnants of the dead bugs.
Invasive species must be dealt with harshly so they don’t crowd out native species. The National Wildlife Foundation reported about 42% of threatened or endangered species are at risk because of invasive species.
The spotted lanternfly — native to China — has been found in 14 states in the Northeast and Midwest. Homeowners can keep an eye out for plants that ooze or weep and have a fermented odor, a buildup of sticky fluid on plants and on the ground underneath infested plants, and sooty mold on infested plants, according to the Department of Agriculture.
“This mold is harmless to people; however, it causes damage to plants,” the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture stated, noting spotted lanternflies could cost the grape, apple, hops, and hardwood industries hundreds of millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of jobs.
The USDA says egg masses — laid on outdoor surfaces such as tree bark, bricks, stones, fences, furniture, lawnmowers, bikes, and grills — are about an inch long and look like a smear of mud. Travelers leaving an area where the bug is known to have invaded should inspect their clothes, vehicles, and trailers to make sure they’re not helping the hitchhikers get to a new area.
One Redditor noted a handheld vacuum cleaner could work wonders on the nymphs, as could chickens.
“I typically go to great lengths to avoid even disturbing most wildlife, but two handfuls of lanternfly corpses made me gleeful,” the poster wrote.
Another user replied, “I’m the same way. I try not to bother any animals or insects. But since we are supposed to kill these things I do it in the most dramatic way.”
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