Photo taken by Rachael Cameron of lantern fly up close.
Written by: SJ Hines
(GREENSBURG, Pa.) – Lanternflies, an invasive species of insects from China, have infiltrated West Central Pennsylvania–specifically Allegheny County. Since springtime of 2022, students have witnessed numerous hoards of lanternflies on campus. Their red-bellied, gray, polka-dotted winged bodies cover the sidewalks, the trees, the pavement, and campus buildings.
In response to the invasion, students have done their part in protecting the environment by stomping and squashing as many bugs as they can.
The Outdoors Club Instagram page has made students around campus aware of the “epidemic” by posting footage of fellow-bug killers on their timeline.
“They’re big and annoying and they fly in your face,” says junior Leah Daniels in response to the invasion. “Squashing them seems pretty good. I’m hoping they go away with the cold weather…”
Diana Farraj, senior, also jabs, “Apparently, lantern flies can secrete a sticky substance that causes the growth of black mold…so not only is it an invasive invasion but it can lead to more serious effects…so they’re horrible, and I think we should do something about it…”
Several attempts at limiting the population have been put into effect, but with recent abundances of more lanternflies, no efforts have stemmed the growing numbers.