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‘Nightmare’ bug invades Pennsylvania

A spotted lanternfly at a vineyard in Kutztown, Pa. Associated Press/Photo by Matt Rourke

‘Nightmare’ bug invades Pennsylvania

The great spotted lanternfly, a planthopper native to Southeast Asia, flies in people’s faces, lands on them, and dumps its sticky waste everywhere. Residents of Pennsylvania, where the species invades this time of year, are fighting back with vacuums, dish soap, sticky tape, and whatever else they can come up with. Lori Beatrice from Phoenixville, Pa., estimates she and her husband have killed thousands of the lanternflies swarming their yard. “It’s disgusting,” she said. “It’s like waking up in a nightmare.”

Are they destructive or just annoying? The yearslong infestation threatens the state’s $4.8 billion wine industry. Pennsylvania wine grower Dean Scott has seen the lanternflies leave grapevines blackened and diseased. As fall arrives, the state is encouraging residents to scrape the lanternflies’ egg masses off surfaces wherever they find them to limit next year’s population. The 1-inch-long bugs die off in the winter, but their eggs can survive severe weather conditions.

Rachel Lynn Aldrich Rachel is an assistant editor for WORLD Digital. She is a Patrick Henry College and World Journalism Institute graduate. Rachel resides with her husband in Wheaton, Ill.


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