If you spot them in KY, kill them

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I know why invasive species are invasive. I understand. And it seems there have been a lot more in Kentucky in recent years. Wild pigs and those pesky Asian carp come to mind.

And if I’m given the green light to kill an invading creature – I’m thinking more of bugs now – no problem. I kill mosquitoes and flies all the time. Got this – not before the mosquitoes do a dot-to-dot coloring book with my legs, but I’m on it.

THE STAINED LANTERN

Of course, the US Department of Agriculture isn’t worried about my garden unless the mosquitoes in question are carrying an infection. But they ARE deeply concerned about a certain creature and urge us to kill it if we see it. It is the strikingly beautiful spotted lanternfly. It originated in China but they have made their way to the states and they are a huge problem. In fact, the USDA would like us to report them if we see them.

Some may not be worried because they pose no threat to humans or pets – no bites, no stings, no venom. But our crops and our trees are out there saying, “Yeah? Hold my beer.”

WHY STAINED LANTERNS ARE A THREAT

They’re a big problem in Pennsylvania, where they were first spotted in 2014. But they’ve spread to surrounding states and migrated to the Midwest. It wouldn’t be a huge shock if these hungry little beasties showed up in Kentucky, especially since they tend to ride cars.

SpottedLanternflyKillers.com explains exactly why we need to eradicate them:

If you’re wondering what exactly the Spotted Lanternfly does to trees, it’s important to understand a “host tree.” The Spotted Lanternfly targets a host tree for food and survival. The host tree supports the Mottled Lantern through all stages of its life. The Spotted Lanternfly feeds on a wide range of fruit, woody and ornamental trees. Observations in recent years have established the Tree of Paradise as one of its preferred hosts. After feeding on these trees, significant damage takes place. When the Spotted Lanternfly feeds on a host tree, it digests the sap and releases honeydew which promotes the growth of molds and fungi. Another problem with the release of honeydew is that this acidic, sticky mixture of honeydew and sap attracts other insects that also feed.

Walnut, sycamore, pine, apple, maple, oak, willow and poplar are some of the varieties of trees that the spotted lantern like to attack.

HOW TO KEEP SPOTTED BAT LANTERNS AND WHAT TO LOOK FOR

If you don’t feel like chasing them, follow these tips to keep them at bay:

If you haven’t seen any – and they’re obviously not hard to spot – but think you might have some in your garden, here’s what to look for:

This is the perfect time of year to sit in the yard, so if you see one or more, let the USDA know.

They may be beauties, but they are also beasts.

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