Parks stewards are calling on New York City residents to do their city duty by killing the dreaded Spotted Lanternfly that have popped up in Brooklyn greenspaces and pose an invasive risk to native plants.
“Harming our city’s wildlife is prohibited, but in an effort to slow the spread of this troublesome species, we are putting out a one-time call: if you see a Spotted Lanternfly, please squish and dispose of this invasive pest,” said New York City Parks Department spokesman Dan Kastanis.
The Lanternfly, native to southern China, is dreaded for its ability to harm native plant species by sucking the sap out for food.
After being accidentally introduced to South Korea in 2006, it has become known as a pest, and since then it has spread to the northeastern United States — famously forcing a cargo ship moored off of Brooklyn in 2019 to quarantine after it was discovered to be infested with the bugs.
Now, the devious bug has been spotted in Brooklyn’s treasured greenspaces like Prospect Park and Green-Wood Cemetery.
Brooklynite Nina Troy-Brandt was walking through the Nethermead section of Prospect Park when she came across one of the wicked insects. Troy-Brandt, who works at a nature camp in the park, knew that the best course of action would be to squish it, bag it, and have it dropped off at the Prospect Park Alliance.
“I’d heard about them and seen some people on social media talking about finding them recently in Green-wood Cemetery and Central Park so I knew it would only be a matter of time before they started popping up in Prospect Park,” she said.
Sara Evans, the manager of horticulture operations at Green-Wood Cemetery, said it’s just as important to report the bugs as it is to kill them, and to kill their eggs.
“I think the best course of action is to report individuals that you see. Submit images, location, date, and any other pertinent observation information to the New York State Integrated Pest Management Spotted Lanternfly Public Report,” she said.
Be on the lookout for egg masses, which adult Lanterfly’s can attach to all types of surfaces, including trees, vehicles, and buildings.
“Adult females do not discriminate where they deposit their eggs. Egg masses can be found on almost any surface including vehicles,” said Evans. “They are very effective hitchhikers.”