May 13, 2023 - Science
Charted: The spotted lanternfly returns
The eggs of the spotted lanternfly, an invasive pest native to China, will begin hatching in several states over the next few weeks.
Why it matters: The insects are not known to bite, sting or attack people or animals, but they can be devastating to the United States' grape, orchard and logging industries.
The big picture: The lanternflies can lay egg sacks, which sometimes look like dried mud, on any smooth surface — like a car, patio furniture or dead plants.
- The spotted lanternfly causes damage when it feeds on the sap of branches and stems, weakening the plant.
- Sap oozing from a damaged plant and a sticky residue excreted by the bugs while they feed can also encourage the growth of a black mold, which may contribute to a plant's death.
What's next: Officials urge people to help stop the spread by scraping egg masses into a plastic zippered bag filled with hand sanitizer, closing the bag firmly and disposing of it properly.
- Nymphs and adults should be crushed, and all sightings should be reported to your state agricultural office.
Go deeper: Spotted lanternflies could spread nationwide — if enough survive