PITTSBURGH – In her backyard in Pittsburgh’s Avalon neighborhood, the first thing that Maxine Erdman noticed in the morning was the weird little beetle. It was a spotted lantern fly, a creature that posed big problems for trees and backyards here in western Pennsylvania.
“When I went to college in Allentown, it was like walking across a carpet of them every day,” she said. “They kill trees very quickly, so this is not only a threat to the trees but also to people’s property. It will cost a lot of money if we let them take over. “
Erdman has a so-called “sky tree” in her garden and is the preferred prey of the spotted lantern fly. She’s now talking to her landlord about cutting it back, which could cost thousands of dollars.
With autumn just around the corner, the beetles will start laying eggs.
“It’s really important to notice if they’re around, keep track of where they are, kill the adults as best you can, and figure out where they lay eggs so they can remove the eggs for the winter before that they hatch, ”said entomologist Ryan Gott. “As they feed, they produce a lot of that really sticky substance called honeydew that covers everything around them. Things get sticky and shiny, which is basically sugar that attracts yellow jackets and dangerous pesky insects. “
If you see one, officials said it was important that you report it to the Department of Agriculture immediately.
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