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Spotted Lanternfly Confirmed In Westchester

The New York Department of Agriculture is urging residents who encounter the invasive spotted lanternfly to immediately kill the insect.
The New York Department of Agriculture is urging residents who encounter the invasive spotted lanternfly to immediately kill the insect. Photo Credit: NY Dept. of Agriculture and Markets

The invasive spotted lanternfly continues its invasion of New York.

A state effort to track the spread and prevalence of the insect using community reports and digital mapping shows it has now been spotted in all five boroughs of New York City, across Long Island, and throughout the Hudson Valley.

As of November 2022, the insect, also known as Chinese blistering cicada, has been confirmed in 16 New York counties, including Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange, Ulster, Sullivan, and Dutchess counties.

The sightings are logged and displayed on an interactive online tool, iMapInvasives, which is used by several jurisdictions to track invasive species, including New York State. 

Native to Asia, the pink and gray dotted bugs were first spotted in Pennsylvania in 2014 and have been spreading across the Northeast ever since.

The first New York infestation was discovered in Staten Island in August 2022, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Spotted lanternflies are not harmful to humans, but can damage crops and certain trees considered critical to agriculture, like grapevine, hops, maple, walnut, and tree fruits.

If not contained, the insect could cost the state millions of dollars, Sen. Chuck Schumer said in August 2022.

"This is a multi-million dollar threat to New York’s economy-- both tourism and agriculture are now at risk if the spotted lanternfly goes unchecked," he said.

"But the good news here is that we have federal funds already in place, that I secured, to help New York contain the bug, and that we will be pushing for more."

State agriculture officials urged New Yorkers who encounter the bugs to quickly exterminate them.

“We need EVERY New Yorker to keep their eyes peeled for #SpottedLanternfly this summer!” reads a July 2022 tweet from the Department of Agriculture.

“If you see #SLF in New York City, kill it immediately by stepping on it or crushing it.”

Those who spot the insect or its egg masses in New York are also asked to email pictures and location information to the department at spottedlanternfly@agriculture.ny.gov or fill out a reporting form online

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