Invasive Spotted Lanternfly Infestation Hits Wellesley, Massachusetts

damage, infestation, spotted lanternfly

Gross news, folks! There’s an unwelcome guest in town, and it’s time to take action. The invasive spotted lanternfly, which has been causing havoc in New York City all summer, has now made its way to the greater Boston area. Brace yourselves, because an infestation has been discovered in Wellesley, as announced by officials just last week.

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) recently alerted Wellesley about the infestation near Carisbrooke Reservation. It seems that these pesky spotted lanternflies, also known as Lycorma delicatula or “SLF,” are spreading across the Commonwealth, although they are not a new phenomenon in the Bay State. In fact, they were first spotted in the United States back in September 2014 in Pennsylvania, courtesy of their native land, China.

Now, you might be wondering, what’s so bad about these critters? Well, let me enlighten you. Spotted lanternflies have a nasty habit of feeding on plant sap, causing significant damage to various plants, including grapes, maple trees, hops, and blueberries. In fact, they have a long list of over 100 host plants that they’ll happily munch on, as the Department of Agricultural Resources warns. But that’s not all. These little troublemakers also leave behind a sticky waste product that covers everything nearby. And guess what? This waste product ferments, grows fungus, and smells awful. Lovely, right?

Now that you’re fully aware of the havoc these spotted lanternflies can wreak, you’re probably wondering what you can do to tackle them head-on. Well, our friends in NYC, who have been dealing with these bugs, have a simple mantra: Kill them. Immediately. And while you’re at it, destroy their eggs too.

So, let’s get down to business. How do you identify a spotted lanternfly? Keep an eye out for these characteristics: Adult lanternflies are approximately one inch long and half an inch wide when at rest, sporting wings adorned with distinctive spots. The upper part of their wings is usually grayish, covered in black spots. Meanwhile, the lower portions of their hindwings are red with black spots, and the upper portions are dark with a white stripe.

But wait, there’s more! Spotted lanternflies are prolific egg layers. Females can lay multiple egg masses every year, with each mass containing about 200 eggs. You’ll find these eggs on tree trunks, rocks, firewood, cars—pretty much anywhere. The eggs themselves have a smooth, brownish-gray appearance and are coated with a shiny, waxy substance.

Now, let’s talk about eliminating these unwanted guests. You have our permission to squish them—yes, squish them! We don’t want these buggers spreading across the country, potentially devastating places like California wine country. If you spot a spotted lanternfly, go ahead and squish it. But beware, they tend to be quite jumpy, so catching them can be a challenge. And here’s a fun fact: because they feast on plant juice, these bugs are rather juicy themselves, just like a grape.

Now, brace yourself for some more grossness. The most effective way to get rid of spotted lanternflies is to tackle them before they hatch—the eggs, that is. Grab some garbage bags, toss those eggs inside, and drown them in alcohol before sealing the bag and putting it in the trash.

One last thing to remember: these bugs are travelers. So, before you embark on any adventures in your car or on your bike, make sure to check for any lingering bugs or eggs. We don’t want you unintentionally spreading this infestation.

Now that you’re armed with all the information, it’s time to take action. Let’s come together as a community and squash this spotted lanternfly problem. Our beloved city of Boston deserves to be free from these invasive pests!

Read the original article here.

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