Trying to Stop Lanternflies? ‘Don’t Bother, They’re Here.’

Good morning. It’s Friday. We’ll follow up on a story about the spotted lanternfly, an invasive pest the experts say you should kill. We’ll also look back at Crazy Eddie and those in-sa-a-a-ne commercials. And a reminder: Early voting in the Aug. 23 primary begins tomorrow.

Credit…Dave Sanders for The New York Times

Because of the spotted lanternfly — an insect so invasive it can be swatted, struck or stomped with impunity — the Stephen Sondheim song “Send in the Clowns” is playing in my head — specifically the line that says “Don’t bother, they’re here.”

I know, I know, the song was about something completely different — a lost love. There’s nothing to love about spotted lanternflies, but they’re here.

Ecologists are urging people to squish them on sight. They seem to be all over New York this summer. New York Times readers reported killing them in parks, patios, even in the Union Square subway station. Carrie from Brooklyn said in an online comment that lanterflies had taken up residence on the backstop at the stadium where the Staten Island Ferryhawks play, only to be knocked off by balls the catcher didn’t catch. The lanternflies then descended on the fans, “to much screaming and flailing of limbs, followed by hot pursuit.”

Other readers shared tips about tools — fly swatters, dishwashing detergent in a sprayer bottle, even bare hands — and tricks. “My technique is to wiggle my fingers,” a reader identified as Christo explained in a 37-second YouTube video. “Get ’em on a horizontal space and freak ’em out” with a finger roll, “and then, get closer and snuff ’em.”

“The trick to stomping them is to stomp them in your natural walking stride,” another reader wrote. “If you raise your leg to stomp them, they will usually elude you. If that happens, run in order to stomp them as soon as they land.”

Lanternflies, originally from Asia, have two distinct pairs of wings. They’re small, only about an inch long. They arrived in the United States roughly a decade ago and have been documented in 12 states. In New York, they have turned up on Long Island, and in the Hudson Valley and western New York. They are within range of upstate orchards and Finger Lakes vineyards — which the adult lanternflies can damage by feasting on leaves and stems.

City and state agencies have posted

Back to top button