14 States Are Drowning As Fireflies Reproduce Rapidly This Fall

Spotted lantern beetles have become more and more of a problem for homeowners over the past few years, but the 2022 breeding season is poised to make this invasive species even more of a national crisis. If you live on the East Coast of the United States or the developing Midwest, there’s a good chance you’ll see the bright, vibrant wings of the spotted lanternfly in your yard or garden this fall.

As we approach the start of the holiday season, the mid-spot lantern tries to create a breeding ground for the thousands of new insects that will emerge later in the year — and they’ll be on everything from plants to potted houseplants to established garden beds.

According to materials published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), late September and late October will see spotted lanternflies very stealthily creating these breeding spots—all while feeding on plants in and around your home. “Spotted lantern fly populations can grow rapidly, and it’s not unusual for an area to fill up with them in no time,” he explains. David Coyle, Ph.D.Associate Professor of Forest Health and Invasive Species at Clemson University and South Carolina Extension Specialist.

“Plants or anything else under the feeding areas of spotted lanternflies is often covered in a sticky substance known as ‘honeydew.'” colonized by,” Coyle said. . “For this reason, large populations of this insect are best controlled quickly.”

They may not pose a threat to your physical health (or your pets’ health!), but insect experts like Coyle are urging Americans to work to prevent the spread of lantern flies. Native to Asia, spotted lantern beetles were first spotted in Pennsylvania in 2014 — since then, according to the USDA, they have spread in large numbers to 14 different states. These states include:

  • Connecticut

  • Delaware

  • Indiana

  • Maryland

  • Massachusetts

  • Michigan

  • New Jersey

  • New York

  • North Carolina

  • Ohio

  • Pennsylvania

  • Rhode Island

  • Virginia

  • West Virginia

Affected residents can view an interactive spotted lanternfly prevalence map through the New York State Office of Integrated Pest Management.

In each of these states, agriculture officials have established quarantine zones for the spotted lanternfly and encourage local residents to kill the insects at first sight. An added bonus—killing these pests will free your gardens, houseplants, patio furniture, and other items from an infestation of thousands of spotted lantern nymphs this fall.

How do I get rid of spotted lantern bugs?

There are two potential solutions to dealing with spotted lanternflies on your property: Remove them immediately with an approved insecticide or provide egg masses for analysis by local entomologists, Coyle advises.

“Egg masses can be cut off using a plastic card or knife to remove whatever is on them; these masses should be rubbed into a plastic bag or container with rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer and disposed of immediately,” he said. “You can also crush these egg masses just to be sure; they can be hard, so don’t be afraid to apply a little pressure. You’ll see it explode once you crush it properly.”

If you’re quick enough, experts say, you can physically crush adult lanterns. If you’ve noticed a small cluster in your garden or yard outside this fall, this is a great strategy.

While it’s tempting to make a DIY bug spray to combat spotted lanternflies on your property, Coyle says these concoctions don’t effectively kill the species and can actually make the problem worse.

Do vinegar, dish soap, or other DIY solutions kill stained headlights?

The short answer? Nope. For a larger infestation, especially on the interior of the home in question, you should call a licensed professional to come and apply a high-strength insecticide once the bugs are discovered.

DIY remedies aimed at spotting lanterns can seriously damage the plants or crops they use, as well as pets in and around your home. “When a pesticide is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency, it means it’s been tested extensively and we know how to apply it effectively and safely,” Coyle said.

There may be state agricultural regulations on what kinds of pesticides you can use to target spotted lanternflies—after all, these toxic materials can also affect beneficial pollinators and other non-invasive insect species.

As noted in materials published by PennState Extensions, “There are insecticides available with labels that list ornamental trees as a permitted site.” “On ornamental trees, including Ailanthus altissima, they are legal to use to try to kill insects, including the spotted lanternfly. You can check your garden center to see what they offer.”

Bottom line:

It’s important for homeowners in the eastern United States to be vigilant about spotted lanternfly outbreaks this fall and take action if they appear on your property.

Experts say that if you’ve noticed your houseplants or garden items oozing or weeping an unusual solution and giving off a fermented smell, it’s likely to be infected; or if there is visible accumulation of honeydew on the plants and on the ground below them. Plus, mold can also be a sign that stained lanterns are trying to breed thousands of new pests on your property.

Regardless of whether you’ve been successful in killing or eliminating spotted lanternflies in the past, try to keep the following tips published by the USDA in mind as you head into the fall season:

  1. When preparing your outdoor spaces for winter, Check any furniture or items for spotted lanternfly egg masses, especially before bringing them inside.

  2. Rub any eggs into a plastic, sealed bag that is well covered with hand sanitizer, then close it and throw it away immediately.

  3. Take a second look at any trees or plants on your property for signs of spotted lanternfly, Insects are known to congregate in large groups on tree trunks and plant stems, especially at dusk and at night.

  4. Scan any external smooth surfacesincluding trees, bricks and stone for any egg mass.

  5. Report any sightings or egg removals using the USDA’s reporting directory to report to your local board of agriculture.

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