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Spotted lanternflies are being seen more than ever before around Central Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture offers advice on what you do if you spot the invasive bug around your home.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Spotted lanternflies are entering their adult life cycles. So, you're likely seeing more of them around your home than ever before. 

The bug looks somewhat like a moth with its wing spread, and its wings are red with black spots. 

Spotted lanternflies are invasive species native to Asia. They are a problem here in the U.S. because we don't have any natural predators that can help us control them. They suck the sap out of trees, vines, crops, and many other types of plants. For example, with grapevines the sugar is pulled out causing the grapes to lose their sugar content and not taste great, then wine can no longer be made with them. 

If you think you are seeing more of the bug than ever before, you're right, the bug has only been in South Central Pa. for about three years. 

"We're definitely seeing more this year than we have before," Jay Losiewics, spotted lanternfly program specialist with the Department of Agriculture said. "They moved into the Harrisburg area in late 2018, when we first noticed them here, and unfortunately two adult lanternflies can produce 35 baby lanternflies, and they can lay three egg masses a year; so just a small population can quickly grow and expand." 

If you want to help control the spotted lanternfly population, there are a few things you can do, according to the Pa. Department of Agriculture:

  • If you see a spotted lanternfly, immediately report it online or via phone by calling 1-888-4BADFLY.
  • Kill it! Squash it, smash it...just get rid of it. 
  • Check your vehicles and anything else you're moving outside of your property to make sure you are not carrying the bug to an area where it currently has not been spotted.

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