It's not everyday environmental experts ask for the public's help in eliminating an entire species of insect, but in the case of the spotted lanternfly, they are.

In both Rhode Island and Massachusetts these invasive insects are reaching their adult (and most destructive) stage of life and the local agriculture needs everyone's help to survive.

The spotted lanternfly likes to eat over 100 different kinds of plant life, leaving their leaves curled and wilted and the plant itself vulnerable to fatal diseases. Not too many plants on the SouthCoast are safe, so that's where you come in.

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Both environmental and agricultural experts in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island have basically declared open season on the spotted lanternfly. They literally want people to squish any of these invasive bugs they see and then report to them where they saw/squished them.

During the winter months, they put out a similar plea for people to destroy any spotted lanternfly egg masses they came across in hopes of eliminated thousands of spotted lanternflies before they hatched.

Not all the egg masses could be destroyed of course and now thousands of these insects are here on the SouthCoast, have grown to adulthood and are ready to eat.

What Attracts a Spotted Lanternfly?

Of course the invasive insect loves an invasive plant. The tree of heaven plant came from China years ago and has been growing wild across the country ever since.

This tree itself is damaging to the native plant life of New England and should be removed from your yard if you have any. Plus it's flower's smell attracts the spotted lanternfly more than anything else.

Once they have been drawn to a yard, the insects starting eating all the other plants around leaving destruction behind.

What Does a Spotted Lanternfly Look Like?

Spotted lanternflies are actually kind of pretty. They have two set of wings, one spotted and light brown, the other red with black tips. Their bodies are appear almost bee like, with yellow and black coloring.

Top view of spotted lantern fly, Chester County, Pennsylvania

Despite their good looks however, they have a horrible bite and need to be eliminated if found.

So whether your in a park, hanging in your own backyard or hiking any nearby woods, if you see a spotted lanternfly, squish that spotted lanternfly. No questions asked.

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