The spotted lanternfly (SLF) made its New York City debut on Staten Island in 2020, but it first appeared in Manhattan last summer. In 2014, Pennsylvania became the first state where it was discovered though it has since been found in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia.
It does not seem that the city is quite at plague level (yet), but a recent post on Nextdoor warned that “lots of lantern flies [were] visible around W67 Street and Riverside Boulevard.” Several others mentioned spotting them all over the Upper West Side including one that jumped out at a pedestrian at the Walter Reade Theater, at 75th and Riverside Drive, on Amsterdam Avenue between 67th and 69th streets, and at Waterline Square.
Both the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the NYC Parks Department urge anyone who sees the critters to immediately kill them by stepping on them or crushing them. The Central Park Conservancy has made a one-time exception to exterminate the plant hopping menace. “If you happen to come across one of these invasive pests in the Park, please squash and dispose of it in the nearest trash can. While the City prohibits killing wildlife, this is a one-time exception given the severe damage an infestation can cause.”
The city’s 311 portal recommends reporting infestations to the Department of Agriculture and Markets here or by emailing Spottedlanternfly@
The colorful nuisance hails from China and Southeastern Asia. It “has the potential to damage multiple agricultural crops in New York. SLF is a pest of apples, grapes, hops, maple, walnut, and others. New York is estimated to produce more than 30 million bushels of apples each year, while grapes in New York are valued at an annual harvest of $52.8 million. Additionally, the expanding hops industry and the maple and timber industries would also be negatively impacted by the spread of SLF.”
If you’re looking to make your skin crawl, check out this SLF swarm an apartment building in Jersey city.