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Spotted Lanternflies Take Over NYC

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Manhattan chapter.

They appear to be everywhere in New York City, covering the streets in swarms, crawling up the sides of trees or buildings, and even have been seen hitching rides on the subway. The spotted lanternflies are back in NYC for the duration of the warmer weather and it feels like their takeover has been even more invasive than previous summers. 

The invasive insects can be easily identified by their black and red spotted bodies/wings, laying their eggs on trees, cars, furniture, etc. Many New Yorkers have stated that they felt these creepy crawlers have gotten even bolder this year, frequently landing on people and becoming increasingly difficult to kill. However, experts report that although many perceive this to be true, the spotted lanternflies have not gained skill in dodging people’s attempts to squish them. 

Nonetheless, the spotted lanternflies have become a pesky burden to the lives of New Yorkers, as citizens have been instructed to kill as many as possible. The official instagram page of the NY Government released a comedic video on Aug. 21, 2023, urging New Yorkers to do their part and “stomp out the spotted lanternfly.” The video features the identifiable theme song from the hit television show, Law and Order, and displays numerous pictures of the bugs behind caution tape and police lights. It’s beyond doubt that these bugs have irritated the public in their increased frequency throughout the state. 

While they pose no direct threat to humans besides their grotesque look, this species is dangerous to the city’s agricultural industry, in particular affecting more than 70 species of plants. New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation reports that these insects negatively impact forest health by using their mouths to suck on the sap of these plants, making the greenery vulnerable to disease and other insects. New York’s biggest concern with this appears to be the grape and wine industry, particularly out in Long Island. 

A small sense of relief is just around the corner, as the remaining hatched adults are expected to freeze off shortly after October. However, their eggs are expected to endure the freezing temperatures soon to come and hatch when the warmer weather returns. With this in mind, it’s important to keep an eye out for these eggs even throughout the winter months, so that we may limit their population growth and the burden they cause citizens, for next summer. 

Niamh is a junior at Manhattan College studying Marketing with a minor in digital arts and humanities. She loves animals and heavily enjoys art, music, & podcasts.