Spotted Lanternflies Migrate North, Bugging Environmentalists and Souring the Big Apple

spotted lanternfly
Image via U.S. Department of Agriculture at Creative Commons.

After wreaking havoc throughout Pennsylvania since 2014, spotted lanternflies are now finding their way onto the most-wanted lists of environmentalists in some of the neighboring states, including New York. Ginia Bellafante connected the dots on this infestation for The New York Times.

Spotted lanternflies represent a grave threat to plant life in affected states. It feeds on the sap of over 70 plant species and leaves them susceptible to disease and destruction from other natural antagonists. This threatens both the economy and the fight against climate change.

The situation has become so dire in Pennsylvania that the state has issued Spotted Lanternfly Order of Quarantine and Treatment. Under those rules, individuals who intentionally move the invasive pest from one location to another face fines and even potential criminal penalties.

“They can hitch a ride on a baseball cap in the back of your car,” said Ronnit Bendavid-Val, the director of horticulture at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. “I can’t think of something they don’t lay their eggs on — cloth, metal, furniture, sides of buildings, and of course trees.”

Read more about spotted lanternflies in The New York Times.