By Eve Nevelos, Editorial Staff (‘24)

The Spotted Lanternfly, also referred to as SLF or Lycorma delicatula, has been spreading throughout the tristate area. Initially accidentally introduced to Pennsylvania in 2014, the insect has wreaked havoc on the ecosystems it has touched. Lanternflies heavily damage flora, causing wilting, sap oozing, and death. The SLF’s habits damage the agricultural industry, forestry, and the overall quality of life for humans and fauna alike. 

Mr Michels, biology and horticulture teacher, says, “Spotted Lanternflies are an invasive species which can harm important horticultural crops if they get out of control. They don’t have any natural predators, so experts believe they will only continue to grow in numbers and spread to more areas in the Northeast.”

It’s important that all seen Spotted Lanternflies are killed or destroyed. This includes SLF egg casings, juvenile SLFs, and mature SLFs. Egg casings, often found on concrete, tree trunks, and other flat, hard surfaces, can be removed with a credit card or paint scraper and coated in alcohol or hand sanitizer to ensure death. Michels comments “There are a number of ways to kill them: stomping on them is the most common, but you can also make a trap to catch them.” This trap can be made out of chicken wire and duct tape, which prevents SLFs from laying eggs on trees and catches older SLFs. Tape can also be used in the spring to catch nymph lanternflies. It’s important to remember that SLFs are invasive and must be killed to ensure the agricultural stability of the region. 

Many students and teachers have spotted Spotted Lanternflies around Indian Hills’ campus. Mr. Michels has seen at least five; several sophomores in the SMRUP have recognized and killed them; and many marching band members have found adult SLFs outside of the band room door. 

It is important to remember that although it may seem wrong to kill insects, Spotted Lanternflies are wreaking havoc on our communities.