Public Service Announcement: the good looking bug is a problem

I was hiking in Fort Lee Historic Park along the Palisades last weekend, when I noticed this bright red bug with the black markings and white spots. I thought it was an attractive bug, so I took a picture … little did I know at the time, but this bug is a threat to our environment! Scroll down for more …

Spotted Lanternfly in NJ
It may look cool, but I should have done a public service and squished it – a Spotted Lanternfly in nymph form.

I just learned today that this is a Spotted Lanternfly, and it is a threat to many fruit crops and trees. The Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) is native to China and was first detected in Pennsylvania in September 2014. My photo is the Spotted Lanternfly in its nymph stage, before it grows wings. It feeds on a wide range of fruit, as well as ornamental and woody trees. The list of plants and trees at risk include: almonds, apples, apricots, cherries, grapes, maple trees, oak trees, pine trees, walnut trees, and willow trees, among others. If allowed to spread in the United States, this pest could cause a lot of damage. The State of New Jersey’s Department of Agriculture has an informative web page and asks people to report a spotting of this bug, which I just did. They actually ask you to kill it, which I didn’t know at the time I saw it.

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