The Lycorma delicatula, better known as the spotted lanternfly, is one of the most destructive insects. Originally from Asia, this noxious weed made its way to the United States about seven years ago.
There are dangers to trees and plants, crops, vineyards, and even jobs when this occurs. Then there’s the “honeydew,” which can turn into mould, dribble onto cars and patios, or become dangerously slippery to walk on—and it just stinks when its scent hits your nostrils.
The Spotted Lanternfly, with its striking appearance and distinct behavior, has captured the attention of many. Originating from China, this insect has a rich history and significance, making it worth understanding and appreciating.
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Kill Them All
Quite endearing, don’t you think? Many eco-warriors advise you to go ahead and squish that bug if that’s the case. People in some areas have been told to shoot the insects as soon as they see them because environmentalists are so concerned about what the spotted lanternfly could do to their ecosystems.
“Die, Beautiful Spotted Lanternfly, Die,” read the headline in the New York Times. There is a call to “Kill it!” from Pennsylvanians. Take the time to get rid of what you don’t need.
Forensic biologist Jennifer Forman Orth, an environmental biologist at the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, was besieged with questions about this invasive bug when live adult spotted lanternflies were discovered in Fitchburg, Mass., in September. A dozen states have now reported infestations.
You must Destroy it
The adult firefly is a stunning sight, with its spotted, bright red wings and tiny, bumble bee-like body. U.S. federal and state officials have issued a joint warning to the public: if you see the insect, you must destroy it.
Did Beautiful Spotted Lanternfly Die?
While individual Spotted Lanternflies have a limited lifespan, the species itself is very much alive. However, in areas where they are considered invasive, efforts are being made to control their population.
The Bug in China with Red Wings:
The Spotted Lanternfly is native to parts of China. Recognizable by its vibrant red wings spotted with black, it stands out in its natural habitat and is often mistaken for a butterfly or moth due to its vibrant colors.
Spotted Lanternfly eggs resemble a row of seeds covered in a gray, mud-like substance. Often found on the trunks of trees or other flat surfaces, these eggs hatch to release nymphs, the early stage of the Lanternfly.
From egg to adult, the Spotted Lanternfly’s lifecycle spans about a year. Eggs hatch in spring, and the nymphs go through four developmental stages before reaching adulthood in the summer.
The Black Bug from China:
While the Spotted Lanternfly is known for its red wings, during its early nymph stages, it has a predominantly black appearance with white spots. As it matures, its coloring evolves, culminating in the vibrant red of adulthood.
Insect Consumption in China:
In various parts of China, insects are considered a delicacy. While the Spotted Lanternfly isn’t a primary insect consumed, regions in China, particularly the south, have a tradition of including insects in their diet due to their nutritional value and unique taste.
Top 20 Facts about Beautiful Spotted Lanternfly:
- Native to China, India, and Vietnam.
- Invasive in the US, especially in Pennsylvania.
- Causes damage to over 70 plant species.
- Prefers the ‘Tree of Heaven’ for laying eggs.
- Can spread via transportation of egg masses.
- Displays a unique courtship ritual.
- Produces a honeydew that promotes mold growth.
- Adults can’t survive the winter but lay eggs that do.
- Has few natural predators in the US.
- Birds tend not to eat them, possibly due to their taste.
- Strong flyers but are often seen hopping.
- Can cover large distances, enhancing its invasive potential.
- Not known to harm humans or pets.
- Currently no known effective natural predators in the US.
- Chemical treatments are being researched for control.
- Public awareness campaigns are ongoing for its control.
- Has a unique clicking sound when disturbed.
- Economic impact due to crop damage is in millions.
- Attracts attention due to its vibrant appearance.
- Public is advised not to transport firewood to control its spread.
Top 30 Causes of Why Beautiful Spotted Lanternfly Die:
The Beautiful Spotted Lanternfly, an invasive pest native to China, India, and Vietnam, has attracted significant attention due to its potential threat to agriculture and its striking appearance.
While efforts have been made to control its population in non-native regions, understanding the factors leading to its natural and induced mortality can be crucial. Here are the top 30 causes of why the Beautiful Spotted Lanternfly dies.
1. Cold Winter Temperatures:
In areas with harsh winters, adult Spotted Lanternflies cannot survive the low temperatures, leading to a natural decline in their population.
Chemical treatments and pesticides are used in areas where they are considered pests, effectively reducing their numbers.
3. Natural Pathogens:
Certain fungi and bacteria act as natural pathogens, infecting and killing the Spotted Lanternfly.
While they have limited predators in non-native regions, some birds and insects might feed on them.
5. Sticky Bands:
Tree bands coated with sticky substances are used to trap and kill the nymphs and adults, preventing them from feeding and reproducing.
6. Mechanical Crushing:
Due to their pest status, many are intentionally crushed by humans when spotted.
7. Lack of Suitable Host Plants:
In areas without their preferred host plants, like the ‘Tree of Heaven’, they might struggle to survive.
Extended periods without access to their plant food source can lead to dehydration.
9. Natural Life Cycle:
Adult lanternflies die naturally after completing their life cycle, which is about a year from egg to adult.
10. Extreme Heat:
High temperatures can be detrimental, especially to eggs and nymphs.
11. Egg Parasitoids:
Certain wasp species act as parasitoids, laying their eggs inside lanternfly eggs, which eventually kill the developing nymph.
12. Predation by Spiders:
Various spider species might prey on the nymphs or even adult lanternflies.
Just like other insects, Spotted Lanternflies can be susceptible to diseases that can cause mortality.
14. Accidental Drowning:
Being attracted to pools of water or other liquid sources can lead to accidental drowning.
15. Unsuccessful Moulting:
During their development, nymphs moult. An unsuccessful moult can lead to death.
Physical injuries, whether from environmental hazards or other animals, can lead to death.
In areas with high population densities, competition for food can lead to starvation.
18. Ingestion of Toxic Plants:
Consuming certain toxic plants unintentionally can be fatal.
19. Man-made Traps:
Specialized traps designed to capture and kill these pests have been deployed in some regions.
20. Disruption in Reproduction:
Any disruption during the mating process or egg-laying can reduce their numbers.
21. Habitat Destruction:
Clearing of trees or areas they inhabit can lead to a decline in their population.
22. Fungal Infections:
Certain fungi are lethal to the Spotted Lanternfly, leading to their death upon infection.
23. Inadequate Nutritional Intake:
If they can’t feed adequately, they can succumb to nutritional deficiencies.
24. Human-induced Climate Changes:
Changes in weather patterns can adversely affect their habitat and survival.
25. Parasitic Infections:
Certain parasites can infect and kill them.
26. Imbalance in Ecosystem:
In non-native regions, an imbalance in the ecosystem can impact their survival.
27. UV Light Traps:
Traps that use UV light can attract and kill them.
28. Air Pollution:
Pollutants in the air can have adverse effects on their health.
29. Chemical Run-offs:
Chemicals from agricultural run-offs or industries can contaminate their food sources.
30. Human Interventions:
Direct human interventions, like community-based killing efforts, can significantly reduce their numbers.
This past July, California issued a quarantine order to help stop the spread of the spotted lanternfly. It forbids the importation of host plants and other commodities from areas with active spotted lanternfly infestations.
Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are just a few of the states that have passed laws banning the transportation of objects that could harbour spotted lanternflies.
The Spotted Lanternfly, with its undeniable beauty, remains a significant concern in regions where it’s not native. Effective control and awareness are crucial to prevent the economic and ecological damage this invasive species can cause.