Horror plague of spotted lanternflies descends on New York as experts warn shapeshifting pests are ‘destroyers of worlds’.

A HORROR infestation of spotted lanternflies has swept over New York as experts warn the pests are a “destroyer of worlds”.

State officials have urged the public to crush and kill the bugs immediately upon spotting the rapidly spreading invasive heart-shaped insects.

A spotted lanternfly on the side of a tree

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A spotted lanternfly on the side of a treePhoto credit: Getty
The bugs can wipe out crops and weaken trees by sucking on the sap

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The bugs can wipe out crops and weaken trees by sucking on the sapPhoto credit: Getty
The spotted lanternfly is a pest native to China that first appeared in the United States in 2014

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The spotted lanternfly is a pest native to China that first appeared in the United States in 2014Photo credit: Getty

The creatures have been spotted swarming around trees near Wall Street, on the Upper East Side, near the UN headquarters, and in Brooklyn and Staten Island.

US Senator Chuck Schumer has warned that the invasion of plant-hopping pests has now reached infestation levels – and urged New Yorkers to “eradicate” the bug.

The spotted lanternfly is a pest native to China that first emerged in the United States in 2014 before hitchhiking to nearly a dozen other states.

The silvery-blue-gray insects — often mistaken for brightly colored butterflies or moths — fly slowly and don’t bite, but they pose a terrible threat to crops, vineyards, crops, and trees.

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The creatures – dubbed the “destroyers of worlds” – were first discovered in Pennsylvania and have now been found in states like New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and New York.

Spotted lanternflies aren’t harmful to humans — but the beetles’ apocalyptic invasion can have a drastic impact on the economy.

They can wipe out crops like blueberries, apples, and grapes, and weaken trees by sucking on the sap.

As sap-sucking mob eaters, they can quickly overwhelm vineyards and orchards and kill vines.

Schumer said, “Summer is the perfect time to relax outdoors with a nice New York Riesling, but the rapid spread of the invasive spotted lanternfly threatens to suck life from our vineyards, agriculture and great outdoor tourism industry .

“We must eradicate this bug before it spreads or our farmers and local businesses face millions of dollars in damage and an uncontrollable swarm.”

He added: “For years I have been warning about the pest, but now we are calling for action because parts of New York state are now infested with the beetle, which is devastating trees, vineyards and crops.

“This is a multi-million dollar threat to New York’s economy – both tourism and agriculture are now at risk if the spotted lanternfly is left unchecked.”

A study showed how the jumping insects can cause $324 million in economic damage.

Authorities in New York have urged residents to learn how to identify the bugs and how to destroy them with vinegar, soapy water or hand sanitizer.

In the fall, spotted lanternflies lay their eggs on everything from tree trucks and rocks to vehicles and patio furniture.

It means humans can unknowingly transport the eggs over long distances and to new areas.

The Department of Agriculture said, “If you see a spotted lanternfly in New York City, kill it immediately by stepping on it or crushing it.”

Lanternfly hunter Jonathan Nunez estimates he kills 200 to 400 lanternflies every week.

He told The Guardian: “Sometimes I just hit them. They are slow. You literally put your hand 45 degrees? You will die.

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“You know it’s killing me because I really like bugs. And they are not ugly bugs.”

New Yorkers who spot the insects should snap a photo of the pest and email spottedlanternfly@agriculture.ny.gov along with the location.

Spotted lanternflies lay their eggs on everything from tree trucks and rocks to vehicles and patio furniture

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Spotted lanternflies lay their eggs on everything from tree trucks and rocks to vehicles and patio furniturePhoto credit: Getty

https://www.the-sun.com/news/6009642/horror-plague-spotted-lanternflies-new-york/ Horror plague of spotted lanternflies descends on New York as experts warn shapeshifting pests are ‘destroyers of worlds’.

DevanCole

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