The spotted lanternfly has invaded numerous states throughout the country at this point, and scientists are working to find a way to reduce the harm they cause as well as their population entirely.
While some states focus on crops that the spotted lanternfly isn’t as drawn to, like corn or soybeans, other states are at a greater risk.
Here are a few things to know about the spotted lanternfly and how it operates.
They’re hard to find and hard to kill
The insect looks similar to a tick in its infancy and much like a moth as an adult.
The eggs are laid in the fall and hatch by spring, staying hidden for much of winter.
The adult moths are also incredibly fast, so actually crushing them is a feat.
There isn’t a solution to manage them the way there is with other insects
Insecticides, which are sprayed around the bottoms of trees and kill insects, are currently the best thing to kill the spotted lanternfly.
The issue is that these chemicals can be incredibly harmful to plants that produce pollen that insects depend heavily on.
Scientists hope to find a less harmful way to kill the bug.
Experts are trying to find more natural way with the food chain at killing them
They have successfully found one that kills stinkbugs.
There have been two enemies that kill the spotted lanternflies in China, but more research needs to be done to determine whether these insects would also be a natural enemy to the ecosystem in the United States.
They attract other insects that aren’t so human friendly
Spotted lanternflies leave a residue behind that attracts other insects due to its high sugar content.
The issue is that it will attract hornets, yellowjackets, wasps, ants, and other insects that can sting and invade.
They can go anywhere
Spotted lanternflies are on the move not just with their speed, but their ability to hide anywhere on a vehicle and cross state lines.
These insects hide on campers, under car hoods, inside tires, and within any other crevice of a motor vehicle.
Unfortunately the population is only increasing, and while experts find ways to slow the spread, they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.