Why Lanternflies Pose A Huge Risk To Alabama’s Environment

Recently there has been plenty of news about the huge risk that lanternflies pose to environments across the country, but especially here in Alabama. Lanternflies are an invasive species, composed of small brown and black spotted bugs that look like moths with a distinctive red marking on their backs. Lanternflies arrived in the U.S. in 2014 and could cause millions of dollars of damage to orchard, grape, and logging industries in the United States. For more on why lanternflies pose such a huge risk to Alabama’s environment, and what to do if you spot a lanternfly, read on.


Where Did Lanternflies Come From?

Lanternflies originally come from Asia, typically found in China, Thailand, and Vietnam. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that lanternflies arrived in the United States in 2014, making their journey to America in shipping crates that came from China to Pennsylvania. Since then, lanternflies have spread to 14 states, mostly in the northeast, and pose a huge threat to the environment in these states. 

Only recently have officials called on the public to help eliminate the threat of spotted lanternflies, and the public has responded overwhelmingly. This summer, lanternflies trended on social media, with people making jokes and memes, as well as posting videos on TikTok of how to spot and crush lanternfly populations in Philadelphia, as well as all over the East Coast.


Are There Lanternflies In Alabama?

It is difficult to say if there are lanternflies in Alabama. There have been several social media sightings posted online of lanternflies in Alabama, but these are unconfirmed reports. There has been no official word yet of lanternflies arriving in Alabama. So far, the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has only confirmed lanternfly populations in Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and West Virginia.

 What is most concerning is that lanternflies are notorious hitchhikers, and often lay their eggs on the undersides of cars, trucks, trailers, and RVs. With how much travel occurs in Alabama every year, it is more than likely that lanternflies could make their home in the Yellowhammer state soon.


How Lanternflies Could Devastate Alabama’s Environment

The reason that lanternflies pose such a huge risk to Alabama’s environment, is that lanternflies use their needle-like mouth to pierce plants and leach the nutrients from the inside of plants. With over 38,000 farms in Alabama, lanternflies could devastate food production, especially for organic and non-GMO crops. Additionally, Alabama’s longer bouts of warm weather could allow for lanternflies to do much more damage, as they would not naturally die off until Alabama experiences its first bouts of truly cold weather, typically in the very late fall and early winter. These warm autumns and early springs could mean that most of the year would be available for lanternflies to devastate Alabama’s natural environment.

It is important to know what to do when you spot a lanternfly or a cluster of lanternfly eggs. For lanternfly eggs, experts recommend scraping them into a small plastic bag of rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer and disposing of the properly sealed bag. As for the adult lanternflies, if you see their telltale flash of red amidst beige and black spots, experts urge you to squish the lanternfly, to ensure the safety of our environment from this invasive species.


While there may not be lanternflies in Alabama yet, there are plenty of pests that plague Alabama residents. If you are struggling with an infestation of fleas, mosquitos, termites, or any other variety of pests, you need to call the company that has been delivering quality pest control to Alabama for over 25 years. With a variety of excellent monthly, quarterly, and one-time rates Advanced Pest Control of Alabama should be the only call you make to stop a pest infestation in its tracks.