Popping on with my first Nature Nugget in ages! As I’m sure a lot of you are aware, the Spotted Lanternfly is an invasive species that has spread across the United States. Currently, many counties in Western Pennsylvania are under a quarantine in order to mitigate the further spread of this harmful creature. You may have seen a lot of ads and billboard talking about squishing these bugs. It may seem harsh, but these swarming bugs cause serious damage to plants. Because of this, they have been labeled a “plant stressor” in that they will contribute to the “long-term weakening of established plants and trees”. These bugs are particularly harmful in the agriculture industry which is why everyone can help slow the spread of them!
.Spotted Lanternflies are dormant right now, BUT there is still something you can do to help eradicate them. Whenever you’re out hiking or walking around your neighborhood, keep an eye out for egg masses. The Spotted Lanternfly lays egg masses in September to November which will then hatch in late April to June. Each one of these egg masses can contain 30-50 individual eggs. Ugh! Egg masses are typically found on trees, near the base but can also be found on other smooth surfaces like buildings or concrete. Especially on trees, they might be hiding in the ridges between bark.
We got together with some other nature lovers last weekend to Smash and Trash the Spotted Lanternfly. We learned from rangers and an entomologist how to identify the egg masses and how to squish them so the eggs cannot hatch. In just over an hour, our small but mighty team managed to squash over 30,000 eggs! I’m definitely going to be keeping my eyes open for these masses as I take more hikes these Spring. Every little bit helps to eradicate this invasive species!
Please note that PennState Extension is still requesting that all sightings of Lanternflies be reported! This information is incredibly helpful in gathering data about the spread of these pesky critters.