Lanternflies are the new pest on campus

By Jyair Fields
September 28, 2020

They are back and more than ever. 

Spotted Lanternflies are everywhere around the United States. These bugs are destroying trees and eating crops by feeding on the sap of a plant. When there’s a high number of them,they can cause damage. These insects have been spreading all over the counties and several states. This year spotted lanternfly sightings in Pennsylvania have increased by 500 percent from last year.  

It’s a suggestion to kill them if they are spotted by students on campus. These bugs have been around and first spotted in Berks county in Pennsylvania in 2014. They don’t have any predators here at Cabrini that eat them.  

Lanternfly spotted in West Residence Hall. Photo by Jyair Fields.

Last year, lanternflies were spotted mainly at the Dixon house, inside and out. There were complaints from students and people were terrified. Now, this year it’s unimaginable how they are spotted every place you can think of on campus. They are being spotted on the tree outside of Founder’s Hall. Students are trying to avoid walkways and trees that are covered by these pests. These bugs are still flying around on people and being harmful.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture urges everyone to kill the lanternflies. If these insects don’t die, they will continue to take over communities and environments. According to their site, the lanternflies prefer to feed on the Ailanthus altissima, so if there’s any this tree in areas, expect to see a great deal of lanternflies. 

“There was a bug in my room this morning while I was playing a game,” Keith Blassingale, a senior marketing major who lives in West Residence Hall, said. “I heard something crawling and looked over and it was a lanternfly on my wall. I screamed and killed it with my shoe. I ran out of the room after because I wasn’t sure if there were more in my room.”  

 “These things are ridiculous! I cringe when I see them. I have always been afraid of bugs ever since I was a child,” Justin Gans, a senior business major who lives in South Residence Hall, said. “After I left the café heading towards my room, a bug jumped on my arm. I didn’t pay it no mind because it looked like a ladybug at first. I ran so fast while I smacked my arm continuously. People looked at me like I was crazy because everyone knows I’m a quiet person.”  

Infographic by Ryan Codkind.

 “Personally I do not like them because they are disgusting,” Caitlin King, a senior business Management major, said. “Bugs are my biggest fear and the other day outside, the lantern fly was flying near my face, and I was scared because they look creepy and are heavy. They are harmless but very fearful and leap when I try to step on one.”  

Spotted in student room. Photo by Jyair Fields

“I think they are the reason for corona,” Nakayla Quattlebaum, a junior international business major, said. “It’s no coincidence that they came and then here comes corona. We have no clue when these insects and virus will go away.”  

  People spray the trees with rubbing alcohol and water trying to kill them. The population has increased, there’s been more lanternflies each year and we can’t control this problem. When they first arrived in the United States, they were spotted in the Berks county. But this year there’s been a ton of them. 

 “We have a lot of them here on campus even at home there are a lot in my front and back yard,” Caroline Nielsen, science professor at Cabrini University, said. 

Everyone needs to be more aware and needs to keep their eyes open for signs of this bad bug – to scrape every egg mass, squash every bug, and report every sighting. Unite over our hatred is a good source to find more information about lantern-flies.

Jyair Fields

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