Yuck! A massive pest problem has the potential to ruin one of the things we love most about fall in New York State.

New York has become a hotbed for Spotted Lanternflies in recent years. The spotted lanternfly, or SLF, is an invasive insect that feeds on maple, walnut, and fruit trees, as well as hops and grapevines. They can spread by laying their eggs onto cars, firewood, stone, and outdoor furniture, which can then be transported to another area.

According to the New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation, the first lanternfly infestation in New York State was discovered on Staten Island in 2020. Since then, the insect has rapidly spread throughout the Empire State, as well as in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

spotted lanternfly

Most lanternfly infestations in New York are located in the New York City area, however there have been sightings in the state as west as Erie county.

This gross video filmed in New York City that was posted on reddit shows just how annoying (and disgusting) an SLF infestation can be.

If anyone was doubting the lantern fly infestation…
by u/GloryHoleKenobi in newyorkcity

Why Are Spotted Lanternflies Bad?

These bugs are definitely bad news. 

The NYS DEC warns that when SLFs feed on plants, it makes them more vulnerable to disease and other insects. The flies also excrete a sticky “honeydew” (it’s not as sweet as it sounds) that could hinder a plant’s growth and attract swarms of pesky insects. The honeydew can also get on your clothes and shoes, and is a real pain to get out of the wash.

Not only are lanternflies super annoying and could bring other critters to your outdoor space to ruin your good time, they could cause massive damage to the New York State economy. It’s estimated that New York’s apple and grape crops bring in $350 million in revenue each year, and a large influx of lantern flies could cause the industry to take a major hit.

Apple trees

Who wants to have a fall in New York State without apple picking, apple cider, and apple pies? Not us, that’s for sure.

What To Do If You See A Spotted Lanternfly

If you spot SLFs or their eggs on your property, you’ve got to get rid of them ASAP before they can cause any more damage.

For eggs, check your outdoor stuff for masses (see the pic below for reference) and scrape them off into a bucket of hot, soapy water or a baggie or jar of hand sanitizer.

spotted lantern fly eggs

As for the lanternflies themselves, give them a good squish and kill them on-site (sorry, bugs) and report your signing to New York State’s DEC

9 Bugs That You Need to Kill Immediately

Here is a list of 9 bugs that even scientists agree should be killed if you see them around your property.

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