Crops and forests threatened by the invasive lantern fly, the authorities press the panic button


Invasive Insect Lanternfly | Photo credit: Twitter

Highlights

  • Invasive species of spotted lanterns first hitchhiked to Pennsylvania from China in a cargo of stones.
  • Now they have flourished in number in 9 states in the United States.
  • As they ravage crops, forests and multiply unhindered, the US federal government has ordered them to be crushed on sight.

The United States is besieged by the adult lantern – a beautiful insect to watch – which has speckled, bright red wings and a small bumblebee body. And while the insect continues to spread across the United States, the lantern fly – an invasive species from China – is already wreaking havoc in agriculture, according to a report by Li Cohen in CBS News (https: // www.cbsnews.com/news/ Lanternfly-invasive-species-pest-united-states-kill /). The spotted lanterns are believed to have first hitchhiked to Pennsylvania from China in a cargo of stone. In China, they tend to be eaten by wasps, but that is not the case in the United States where they now thrive with abandon.

The report says the lantern is not physically harmful to humans, but its population threatens everything from oaks, walnut trees and poplars to grapes, almonds and orchards.

The threat of lanterns in the United States:

  1. First detected in the United States in Pennsylvania in 2014
  2. Now extended to at least nine states
  3. Cause “small open wounds” on tree trunks, oozing sap
  4. Lanterns arrive in large populations that congregate in an area
  5. This harmful species feeds on the sap of more than 70 plant species
  6. Lanternfly excretes a sticky substance known as’ honeydew
  7. Large amount of honeydew gets on people’s hair, clothes and other belongings
  8. Lantern fly honeydew attracts “large amounts of sooty mold”
  9. This mold has a negative impact on the ability of plants to photosynthesize, grow and produce fruit.

“Spotted lanterns are a threat to our city’s forests,” the New York City Department of Parks tweeted. “If you see a spotted lantern, crush it, throw it away, and bring it back to us.”

According to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, adult lanterns lay inch-long egg masses that are waxy and mud-like when new and brown and scaly when new. are old and a massive accumulation of honeydew and black sooty mold on the plants.

Professor George Hamilton, chairman of the entomology department at Rutgers University, told CBS New York (in August) that August is the best time to kill the bugs, because that’s when the Most of the adults went out. The bugs start to lay eggs in September, he said, and baby lanterns are harder to find and kill.

The fear of this insect harmful to crops and forest cover that appears to have no natural predators in the United States is increasing day by day. According to a certain report, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service launched an investigation when a Kansas student brought the lantern to class without realizing that there were orders to crush and kill these invading parasites. Federal authorities even call those who kill these insects “civic heroes.”


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