I try not to make a habit of squishing bugs, provided they’re outside my personal space. All of the local insect populations around my home know that they moment they enter my home and line of sight, their lives are forfeit. Outside that, bugs have a place in our ecosystem and are best left alone if they’re not bothering you. Unless, of course, they’re not supposed to be in our ecosystem, in which case it’s not only okay to squash them, but you’re encouraged to do so by local governments.
Several prominent members and organizations of New York City’s agricultural departments, from the NYC Parks department to the director of horticulture at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, have put out a kill-on-sight order on spotted lanternflies. Spotted lanternflies are indigenous to China, India, and Vietnam, but in recent years have made their presence known in the US as an invasive species. New York City in particular has seen a rash of these insects popping up, mostly around parks and agricultural areas, and if left alone, they could pose big problems down the line.
While spotted lanternflies are harmless to humans, and admittedly somewhat pretty with their wings expanded, they’re an absolute nightmare for crops like grapes, apples, and walnuts. They can also weaken and wither local trees, though thankfully they can’t kill them outright.
If you see one of these beautiful bugs, “squish it, that’s the message,” the director of horticulture at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden said. https://t.co/XneKBExU7H
— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 16, 2021
“Spotted lanternflies may look pretty, but they’re invasive pests and a threat to the health of our city’s forests,” the NYC Parks department wrote on Instagram. “If you see one, PLEASE squish it, dispose of it, and report it to nyc.gov/parks/slf. Thank you for your service.”