Spotted Lantern Flies

This week’s blog was written by Jonathan H., a Brookies alumni. Jonathan has always been interested and passionate about wildlife and conservation. He enjoys hiking, nature photography, boating, and fishing in his free time. Attending WLA has deepened Jonathan’s involvement and interest in conservation and he intends to continue doing what he can to make a positive impact on his community. WLA has also helped him come to realize that he is truly interested in entering the ecology and conservation field as a career. Jonathan hopes to help educate others about the importance of conservation and to help others develop a passion for the natural world around them.

The spotted lanternfly is an invasive species native to Asia. Contrary to its name the spotted lanternfly has little in common with flies, rather, they are more closely related to cicadas, stink bugs, aphids, and leafhoppers. Spotted lanternflies possess powerful hind legs in all nymphal stages and the adult stage allowing them to jump impressive distances. Adults can also fly for short distances. Although they rarely fly, lanternflies have been able to spread rapidly.

Lanternflies often hitchhike on humans, cars, and other means of transportation. If their spread into new areas is not controlled, these insects can cause significant damage to both native and economically beneficial plants. In PA, if the spotted lantern fly is not contained, it is estimated that they could drain the state’s economy by up to 324 million dollars each year and cause the loss of 2,800 jobs due to their destructive feeding habits. To help stop their spread, it is widely suggested to kill any lantern flies you encounter. Also, if you are in an area where the spotted lanternfly is prevalent, be sure to check yourself and your vehicle for any hitchhikers. 

The photos used in this blog belong to the author.