STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The bad bugs are back, the Spotted Lanternflies.
Monroe County Conservation District Officials say they had their first reported sighting of the Spotted Lanternfly on Wednesday.
They say the bugs are most harmful to plants at a young age.
“Stop the Invader” is posted on a sign outside the Monroe County Conservation District in Stroudsburg bringing awareness to the Spotted Lanternfly.
The invasive species is native to parts of Southeast Asia. It was first discovered in Pennsylvania back in 2014 – and has since moved into parts of Monroe County.
“We’re seeing a little bit more each year. Nothing to the point where you know it’s a massive invasion, but it’s definitely here and we do need to be aware of it,” said Roger Spotts, Environmental Education Coordinator, Monroe County Conservation District.
This time of year the Spotted Lanternfly eggs are hatching into the first ‘nymph’ stage where they are black with white spots and could be mistaken for a tick.
Spotts says nymphs suck the sap and damage more than 70 plants, including forestry and agricultural crops.
“Black mold grows on it and there are some other things that can grow on it that make it a little bit unhealthy, not only for that tree but the whole that it is in and it can get pretty messy if it’s on your private property,” Spotts explained.
Monroe and surrounding counties are listed under a state-imposed quarantine meant to stop the spread of the species to other parts of the state.
The conservation received its first report on Wednesday of the invasive species at the Tannersville Cranberry Bog Preserve.
“If you see it, squish it,” said David Hooker, Watershed Specialist, Monroe County Conservation District.
Officials say, by killing just one you could prevent the laying of egg masses that can produce up to 50 eggs.
“At this point, it’s getting too late to scrape the egg masses, because they’re already hatching out but when there are egg masses, it’s important that you check your trees on your property, scrape off the egg masses, and soak them in like ice or alcohol, or even just put them in water and microwave them,” Hooker added.
There are many home remedies online but officials say the best way to kill them is to squash or trap them.
You can report sightings of the Spotted Lanterflies using the online reporting tool or by calling 1-888-4BAD-FLY.