Kill-On-Sight Orders Issued As Insect Creeps Closer To Louisiana
This invasive species is still considered "new" in the United States, because it was first identified here just 9 years ago. But in that short period of time, it has devastated crops in over a dozen states. Now, reports of sightings are expanding into new regions of the country.
The US Department of Agriculture says multiple types of crops and trees are at risk from these insects. The USDA says the risk is to the following trees and crops: Almonds, Apples, Apricots, Cherries, Grapes, Hops, Nectarines, Oak Trees, Peaches, Sycamore Trees, Walnut Trees, and Willow Trees among others.
These things are so bad, multiple states have launched "Kill On Sight" campaigns. So what insect is so worrisome we need a Kill on Sight order? The invasive Spotted Lanternfly...
An invasive species native to Asia, its assumed they were brought to the United States through a shipment of some kind. Now, they seem to be having an easy time making their way across the country.
These small butterfly-looking bugs are actually pretty interesting to look at, but can cause amazing amounts of damage. Which is why these campaigns to kill on sight have been launched. Because citizens might see these little guys and like their patterns and colors...but they need to be told to squash them.
The Spotted Lanternfly has a paint-splatter pattern on its outer wings, with bright reds and oranges underneath. When immature, they have bright red colors all over their bodies.
These patterns and colors can really draw interest from people. Kids may want to gather them to keep as "pets" while adults might mistake them for helpful butterflies. Because of this, these insects have had an easy time spreading and surviving.
The initial infestation in the United States is assumed to have started in the Philadelphia area. It then spread quickly through the Northeast, into states like New York and Maryland. But now the USDA suggests they're moving south.
Which means Kill-On-Sight orders will likely be following.
Right now, the spread appears to be into North Carolina, but on the Tennessee border. These tracking reports are based almost exclusively on public reports. Which does mean that the spread could be even further than we anticipate. That means crops in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, and other southern states could already be hosting these little problems.
Which means that over 70 types of crops and trees are at risk in those states.
Based on the spread we've already seen, and the vast varied of crops in Louisiana, it seems like its only a matter of time until the Spotted Lanternfly is in The Boot. So keep an eye out, and remember two things: Report the sighting to the USDA so they can track, and KILL ON SIGHT.