The Invasion of Spotted Lanternflies in South Jersey

The Invasion of Spotted Lanternflies in South Jersey

Colin Eckhardt

Their corpses litter the sidewalks all across New Jersey, damaging ecosystems, and causing millions in damages annually. This destructive force are spotted lanternflies, an invasive species from China and India which descended upon Pennsylvania in 2014 and spread rapidly to surrounding states. Spotted lanternflies are about an inch in size with black spots on their gray wings and when their wings are out their red body shows. They are harmless to humans and animals, but they feed on the sap of many agricultural plants and trees which can cause severe damage to the plant. 


Recently, here in South Jersey, their sightings have dramatically increased since the lockdown from COVID-19 causing more issues for the ecosystem. They are damaging the agricultural parts of the state such as farms and their crops which could lead to problems from livestock or even us. This is why the New Jersey Department of Agriculture advises people to report sightings of spotted lanternflies and stomp on any alive ones you see. Much like COVID-19 they are trying to contain and stop the spread of these destructive insects, so everyone can play a part in aiding this cause. Instead of flattening the curve, you should flatten it to the curb.


Even at Overbrook High School, they can be seen roaming around or already stomped on. Here are some quick thoughts some students and staff had about these pests: Mr. Caltabiano, a biology teacher said, “From a biology aspect, they are an invasive species and the problem is when you have an invasive species they don’t have any natural predators. So they are not dying and are exponentially increasing in population and because they feed off plant life; it damages the ecosystem”. Colvin Abdulkader, a senior, had this to say, “Spotted lantern flies are the definition of a harmful invasive species, and there’s only one effective way to curb them: stomping”.

If you ever see one outside during gym time or leaving school, do your part and flatten it.