Have you ever seen a spotted lanternfly in Northeast Ohio? It's a beautiful insect, with black spots and red, yellow, black, brown, and white coloring.
But most importantly, if you ever do come across one, you need to immediately KILL IT.
That's right, smash that beautiful bug right where it stands.
Wait, Why Should We Be Killing the Spotted Lanternfly?
Simply put, the spotted lanternfly is an incredibly invasive species. Native to China and Vietnam, the insect has finally made its way to North America, first detected in Pennsylvania in 2014. It has since been identified in 14 states, including Ohio.
Since the lanternfly's first appearance in the country, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been on a quest to turn Americans into spotted lanternfly killing machines. Literally. The USDA is deputizing all of us to murder these bugs and report our findings so the government can properly track the lanternfly's movements and ultimate extermination.
So why is the government so hellbent on ending the spotted lanternfly? Because they wreak havoc on a wide variety of plants and crops, including many types of fruits and trees, such as the tree of heaven.
It's incredibly easy for these bugs to travel long distances as well, as egg masses or the bugs themselves are often found on infected materials (like lumber) or on trucks and cars. If you live somewhere where spotted lanterflies have been found, be on the lookout for signs of their existence.
In the case of Cleveland and the rest of Northeast Ohio, I can assure you they're here. On a recent trip to the Terrestrial Brewing Company, the family and I spotted one on the back patio and we all smashed that thing together like we were filming a propaganda video in Starship Troopers.
And if you ever come across one of these spotted lanternflies, be sure to do the same.