Invasive flies swarm NYC and people are urged to stomp them on sight

<p>Authorities in some states urge people to kill them on sight </p>

Authorities in some states urge people to kill them on sight


New York has had a colourful invasion after several reports of spotted lanternflies around the city.

While the lanternfly is harmless to humans, the invasive plant-hopper is known to be destructive to nature. It is considered a threat to trees, crops, plants and overall quality of life.

Down in Philadelphia, the Department of Agriculture said, “this insect could cost the state $324 million annually and more than 2,800 jobs”, according to a 2019 economic impact study.

The advice in that state? Kill them on sight and make a report of a sighting.

“If you see a spotted lanternfly, it’s imperative to immediately report it. What else? Kill it! Squash it, smash it...just get rid of it. In the fall, these bugs will lay egg masses with 30-50 eggs each. These are called bad bugs for a reason, don’t let them take over your county next.”

The bug comes from China, India and Vietnam, but they have since been spotted in Pennsylvania in 2014 before spreading to other states such as Maryland, Delaware, Virginia. New York is the newest state to see a surge of spotted lanternflies.

Alejandro Calixto, director of the New York State Integrated Pest Management program at Cornell University, warned that it “could impact New York’s forests as well as the agricultural and tourism industries.”

“Once these insects reach some of the state’s grape production areas, there’s going to be an impact”, he added.

The Department of Agriculture and Markets says that the SLF “can be transported on outdoor goods and equipment” and “can also hitchhike in vehicles”.

If you see something which you believe to be a spotted lanternfly, you can:

  • Take pictures of the insect, egg masses, or infestation. Include something in the photograph for scale, such as a coin or pen.
  • Collect the insect and place it in a freezer or a jar with rubbing alcohol/hand sanitizer.
  • Note the location (address, intersecting roads, or GPS coordinates), shipping information, and any other relevant information.
  • Email the information to:
The Conversation (0)