What a pest! Dappled Lanterns Spread in the United States: NPR


A dappled lantern crawls across the ground during a baseball game in Pittsburgh in 2021.

Keith Srakocic/AP


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Keith Srakocic/AP


A dappled lantern crawls across the ground during a baseball game in Pittsburgh in 2021.

Keith Srakocic/AP

Since the appearance of the spotted lanternfly in Berks County, Pennsylvania.in 2014 (arriving from its home in Asia), this invasive species booked it across the United States.

Recent reports indicate that the bugs have settled New York, Canada, MarylandVirginia and North Carolinaand now, according to Brian Eshenaur, they have migrated to the Midwest.

These insects are not dangerous to humans or pets – they do not bite, sting or are poisonous. But they represent a serious risk for agriculture.

Eshenaur of the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program said he and his team began monitoring the spotted lanternfly in 2018. At that time, the project may have warranted a two-to-one update. three times a year.

And now?

“We update it twice a week, even just to track all the new counties in the Northeast and Midwest that have infestations,” he told NPR.

“They have quite a diverse palate and can feed on over 100 different plant species,” Eshenaur said. But they have their favorites, including the Tree of Heaven (itself an invasive species) and the vine.

A dappled lantern on a restaurant doorknob in Lower Manhattan on August 2.

Ted Shaffrey/AP


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Ted Shaffrey/AP


A dappled lantern on a restaurant doorknob in Lower Manhattan on August 2.

Ted Shaffrey/AP

This week, Senator Chuck Schumer revealed that every region in upstate New York has reported sightings of the spotted lanternfly.

With wineries in the region and the state at risk of losing millions of dollars, Schumer called on the United States Department of Agriculture to use millions of dollars in federal funds to contain the problem.

How to fight against these pests?

In Pennsylvania, the source of the problem in the United States, experts imported tiny wasps, which are a natural predator of the spotted lanternfly in China.

There are ways to tackle bugs in small ways, Eshenaur said.

If people find these insects in their garden, Eshenaur suggests creating what is called a circular trap or using a sticky trap on trees (but he warns that they can inadvertently trap small animals).

“If you’re going to use a sticky trap, it’s best to put a layer of screen over it to protect it from any birds that might come in,” Eshenaur said.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services urged the public to change their habits so that the eggs of these insects are not transported. The agency said, for example, to buy firewood from local sources and burn it all down before the eggs have a chance to hatch in May.

The department also wants people to avoid parking their vehicles under trees or near bushes – where insects can lay eggs or hide to invade a new location.

Audiences should also get acquainted with the bug in all its black-speckled glory. Many states urge the public to show no mercy to insects: kill them on sight.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture said the best method of extermination is to crush or trample them (the old fashioned way) or put them “in a container of alcohol, diluted clorox (10%) or hand sanitizer. Larger populations can be treated with a contact or systemic insecticide.”

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