Harmful Invasive Insect Sightings Reported In This Westchester Village: Here's What To Do

Following several sightings of an invasive insect known to cause harm to local forests, agriculture, and tourism, village officials in Westchester are advising residents to manually remove them by any means necessary. 

Spotted lanternfly

Spotted lanternfly

Photo Credit: WanderingMogwai Wikipedia

According to an announcement from Irvington village officials on Tuesday, June 4, numerous residents have reported sightings of the Spotted Lanternfly, an invasive insect from Asia known to negatively impact plant life in New York. 

The insect feeds on many plant species, including grapevines, red and silver maple, walnut, sycamore, rose bushes, oak, birch, fruit trees, Virginia creeper, Porcelain berry, and more. 

To do so, the species sucks on sap, stressing plants and making them vulnerable to disease and attacks from other insect species. The adult lanternflies also excrete honeydew, a sugary substance that can attract bees, wasps, and other insects. 

To make matters worse, the honeydew can help the growth of sooty mold, a fungus that can cover plants, forest understories, patio furniture, and cars. 

The juveniles of the species are identified as black or red-spotted nymphs, which become more moth-like with white wings as they mature into adults. Any residents who spot them should kill them, according to county officials. 

The best ways to get rid of the insects include:

  • Squishing them; approaching them from the back works best;
  • Using a handheld vacuum with a clear, removable canister. To help prevent the insects' spread through waste, residents should dispose of the lanternfly by putting it into a sealed Ziploc bag with a squirt of hand sanitizer;
  • Trapping them in a wide-mouth plastic and sealing them in with a shot of water. Tree traps, which can be bought or made at home, also work. However, glue traps should not be used as they kill beneficial insects and birds;
  • Egg masses can be destroyed by scraping them into alcohol or hand sanitizer in a sealed Ziploc bag. They can be found between September and June;
  • Do not use insecticides or herbicides.

to follow Daily Voice North Salem and receive free news updates.