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Lanternflies need to be stomped, squished, sprayed and trapped

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Everyone’s out to get the spotted lanternfly.

All summer, people have been squishing and swatting the repulsive little tree killers. The other day outside our office building, I saw two little boys stomping lanternflies as their mother called, “Get ’em!”

A year ago, I spotted my first climbing a wall, and leaned in to get a closer look. Suddenly, the thing leapt onto my neck, like a vampire. I awkwardly brushed it off and it hit the ground, then jumped away like it has springs on its feet.

That was last summer in Warminster. Now, as their egg-laying season opens, lanternflies are everywhere — landing on trees in Bucks County, clustering on plazas in Center City Philadelphia, infesting New Jersey fields.

They’re freaky looking. Like masks, I can’t decide if they’re cool or repulsive. Repulsive, I think, especially after what happened in South Jersey a few weeks ago.

I was in cow country, interviewing random people about the situation in Afghanistan when, out of nowhere, a lantern fly buzzed me and landed on my head. I smacked it, but before I could brush it away, a second one hit.

“They really like you,” the guy said.

“Or hate me,” I said, brushing off bug parts.

Spotted Lanternfly quarantine zone expands


© The Intelligencer

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