If You Encounter This Colorful Bug You Should Kill It Immediately and Then Report It, Officials Say


A species of insect that has been spotted across the country might be captivating for its beauty, but government officials are asking ordinary Americans to kill the bugs if they see them, and then to report their presence to wildlife officials.

The spotted lanternfly is an interesting-looking bug, but is a danger to ecosystems outside of China, India and Vietnam. In recent years, it has worried officials on the East Coast amid a campaign to purge the crop-consuming bug from the continent.

But then one was spotted in Kansas, and now agencies across the country are on high alert.

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These interesting creatures are both a nuisance and a threat to some plants and trees, according to public officials. They’re currently creating headaches in Japan. Officials across the U.S. are hoping to avoid a similar situation, so they’re asking anyone who might come into contact with one to kill it immediately.

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The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service offered a bit more background on the bugs in an advisory to the public.

“The Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) is native to China and was first detected in Pennsylvania in September 2014. Spotted lanternfly feeds on a wide range of fruit, ornamental and woody trees, with tree-of-heaven being one of the preferred hosts,” the department said.

“Spotted lanternflies are invasive and can be spread long distances by people who move infested material or items containing egg masses. If allowed to spread in the United States, this pest could seriously impact the country’s grape, orchard, and logging industries,” the advisory added.

The department added that almonds, apples, apricots, cherries and grapes, among other fruits and nuts, are at risk. Additionally, maple, oak, pine, poplar, walnut and willow trees are vulnerable to the insects.

Officials at the department are asking people to inspect trees, bricks, stones and other smooth surfaces where these insects lay eggs.

For a full list of common targets for the spotted lanternfly, visit the Department of Agriculture’s website.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.