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Friday Musings: The Lantern Fly

Friday Musings: The Lantern Fly

If you live in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, you are well aware of the presence of an invasive little bug call the Lantern Fly. I remember when they arrived here a few years back. At first I thought they were sadly beautiful with all their spots and different combinations of red and black depending on the stage of their life cycle. The adults had gorgeous wings that turned them into fluttery paratroopers descending a bit erratically before hitting the ground with a roll and coming up on some fairly high legs. At first I wondered what the “squash to kill” order we received was all about. Could they really be that bad? I mean, if you ask me, cave crickets are a whole lot worse. Absolutely loathsome. But then I began reading about the damage lantern flies could cause to trees, vines, and crops that included things like oozing sap, wilting leaves, and even death if the infestation was major. Most insidious of all, lantern flies left a sugary substance behind called honeydew that encouraged the growth of a sooty black mold. As if all of their destructive potential wasn’t enough, their nuisance factor was also quickly climbing the charts. I had lunch one afternoon in West Chester Pa. two summers ago where these little creatures were utterly ubiquitous at the time. Needless to say, they rained down upon our table with a vengeance. I’d had enough. A bug killer I am not, but it seemed like it might be time to buy a good fly swatter.

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