Spotted Lanternflies, the new scourge of the north-east, were spotted in Illinois. The invasive, plant-hurting, leaping bug with the sweet sticky shit powered through Ohio and Indiana this year and is now making fast progress toward St. Louis.
"It's hard to tell exactly how they got here. The best we can say is that they came on imports and imported stone products," Scott Schirmer of the Illinois Department of Agriculture told CBS 2's Jim Williams and Marie Saavedra on Thursday. "So as a lot of these invasive species get into the United States from overseas, it gets on imports and materials and products moving into the country."
The insects with their bright red underwings are visually striking at first glance. But they are no friends of ours.
"Being a non-native species, they don't belong here," Schirmer said. "There's nothing that's here that keeps them in check and keeps their populations down, so without having any of those biological controls in place, they can really run rampant, build their populations up, and live in populations that are almost overwhelming in the environment."
Introducing the natural predators that keep it in check in China is one option, but it seems unlikely that unleashing predatory, parasitic wasps everywhere will register as much of an upgrade. The good news is local U.S. fauna appear to have decided to eat the lanternflies. You can, too, if you really want to. If you live east of Cincinnati, you might have already ate their honeydew!
First good frost should kill them off—until next year.