(CTN News) – Sightings of spotted lanternflies in New York have dramatically increased over the past two years. Agriculture is more at risk than humans from the new invasive species.
An invasive flying bug known as Spotted Lanternflies was discovered in the city for the first time in 2020. Is there a reason why New Yorkers are suddenly concerned about the insects?
Right now, we’re really noticing them in the city. It was low the last couple years, but numbers have really risen,” said Brian Eshenaur, a crop specialist from Cornell’s Integrated Pest Management program.
A mild annoyance, lanternflies can harm crops. “We’re primarily concerned about grape vineyards,” said Eshenaur, citing New York’s wine industry and Concord grapes as vulnerable.
In 2014, spotted lanternflies were introduced to the U.S. when a landscaping stone imported from Korea inadvertently brought eggs to Philadelphia. Two years ago, the insects reached Staten Island and have since spread to New York, with branches in Ohio and Indiana as well.
So far in 2022, the Department of Agriculture has received 9,5000 lanternfly sighting reports, up from nearly 5,000 last year. Megan Moriarty, a spokesperson for the spotted lanternfly, told the Observer to squish and dispose of the pest.
According to Eshenaur, lanternflies in the city are primarily a nuisance to residents. These insects, native to a region in China, do not sting or bite humans; instead, they feed on plants. In addition to coating cars and picnic tables with honeydew, they can also develop fungus if left alone for long periods of time.
Grapes and wine are threatened by Spotted lanternflies
Despite spotted lanternflies not typically entering apartments, Eshenaur has received reports of them on high floors. “Sometimes they mistake buildings for trees and are found dead at the base of skyscrapers,” he said.
Schumer announced on Aug. 14 that most of upstate New York was infested with aphids, calling for $22 million from the Agriculture Department to mitigate the insect’s spread.
The insects don’t pose a significant threat to other types of crops, according to Eshenaur. The impact on other agricultural commodities isn’t as severe as we had feared.”
As a result of accidental transportation of adult insects or eggs, he is concerned about the spread of the species. It is not possible to eradicate the disease. The insect is probably here to stay,” Eshenaur said.
Once the spotted lanternfly population reaches its peak, he believes it will eventually decline. In New York City, are we at the peak of the season? It’s hard for me to say. We might see it in the next couple of years.”
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