After I posted here and on Facebook that I saw my first Spotted Lanternfly in northern New Jersey yesterday, someone asked:
Can you share more why are they so bad? and why should we kill and report them?
Excellent questions. These invasive insects have been seen in Pennsylvania and part of NJ for so long that many of us have taken the "why's" for granted.
Here's what the New Jersey Department cautions:
SLF is a serious invasive pest with a healthy appetite for our plants and it can be a signiﬁcant nuisance, affecting the quality of life and enjoyment of the outdoors. The spotted lanternfly uses its piercing-sucking mouthpart to feed on sap from over 70 different plant species. It has a strong preference for economically important plants and the feeding damage signiﬁcantly stresses the plants which can lead to decreased health and potentially death.
As SLF feeds, the insect excretes honeydew (a sugary substance) which can attract bees, wasps, and other insects. The honeydew also builds up and promotes the growth for sooty mold (fungi), which can cover the plant, forest understories, patio furniture, cars, and anything else found below SLF feeding.
If you see a Spotted Lanternfly, help us Stomp it Out!
You can read the NJ Dept. of Agriculture warning here.
An informative NJ news article is here.
After I reported, folks also wrote that where they live or work (in other parts of New Jersey and NYC), the insect has overrun their area -- to the point where they are forced to kill hundreds at a time.
I share their comments:
"I just killed another 200 or so in my yard in Somerset County."
"I saw one at the top of the observation deck of 30 Hudson Yards. They've even 100 floors in the sky!"
"We are infested with them here. Each female can lay 40 to 50 eggs. So sad!"