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What damage do lanternflies do?

What damage do lanternflies do?


Impact of invasive species on ecosystems

Spotted lanternfly’s life cycle (instars) with size comparison to a U.S. quarter (24.26 mm [0.955 in])

Have you heard of the lanternflies disaster in Pennsylvania? These insects were not only numerous but also able to attach themselves anywhere in sight. These flies are causing people to be unable to live their normal lives. People had to remove the flies themselves. It has had a huge impact on the people of Pennsylvania, on the state government, on Pennsylvania Agriculture business, and so on. (“Stomp and Squish”) The impact of an invasive organism is enormous, and has a devastating impact on the entire ecosystem. 

First, the invasive species affects the species in the original environment. When Species move to another place to survive, they have no natural predators. This invasive species results in the killing of many native species. For example, king snakes originally come from California, and have been taken to other countries as exotic pets, such as the African archipelago. The king snakes have eaten almost all creatures on the Canary Islands. It was originally an exotic pet on the island. But because it is so fierce, it can eat anything on the island. This leaves him with no natural enemies.

Closeup of “brick and mortar” wing structure
USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab from Beltsville, Maryland, USA – Spotted lanternfly, wing detail_2017-06-08-18.04

The experts claim that the kingsnakes moved to the Canary Islands due to the trade of international pets.

They had no predators on the island so that their population was increasing, and the number of other species has decreased. In fact, the government has some solutions. They used dogs and hawks to kill snakes and bulldozers to shovel the land to kill the invisible ones. (“Rampaging California Kingsnakes”) Thereby, the alien species make it impossible for native organisms to survive. 

Plus, native species can create species that are invasive to other organisms. There is also a special case in the original ecological conditions, the surrounding environment has undergone uncontrollable changes. It can also lead to the destruction of native species. For Example, didymo is a river algae. Unlike other invasive species, didymo has been growing these ponds all the time. It has been found that climate change was driving their rapid growth. But when these algae get too abundant, they can take up a lot of the nutrients in the pond. Most of the creatures in the pond would not survive.

Climate change can cause a river to lose phosphorus.

(“Taking a Closer”) When the didymo lacked phosphorus, they grew tall and slender. The government spent a lot of money to prevent the spread of didymo. For Example, the establishment of cleaning stations, strict supervision, and other aspects. However, research has shown that changes in the environment were hard to ameliorate that these changes are likely to increase. (“Taking a Closer”) Therefore, its large-scale appearance has brought varying degrees of negative influence to the local native organisms. Furthermore, the invasive species influences people and their lives in the original environment. People are part of the ecosystem. Invasive organisms bring economic disaster to human beings.

Invasive organisms have cost the United States a lot economically.

According to ecologist Gary Lovett, trees from “Maine to Georgia” are dying from an insect called the “hemlock wooly adelgid” (Margolis par 3). The article further explains that these invasive pests were ferried to the United States. Pests could attach themselves on wooden pallets from East Asia to America by international shipping. Although The government strictly obeyed the international wooden pallet and container association rules to conduct thorough inspections to prevent invasive species, the fact was that about 13 million boxes were shipped to the U.S. each year, and export officials could not make sure there weren’t any creatures on wooden pallets.

Therefore, Lovett claimed that wooden pallets could be replaced by other materials, for example, reclaimed plastic, complex wood. But there would be a big outlay. (Margolis Par2) Plus, this invasive species is not just an economic problem. It is also destroying trees from north to south in the United States. This Is Undoubtedly a huge negative impact. 

Finally, invasive species affect the agricultural and economic development of societies.

This is because invasive species lead to poor harvests in local agriculture, and stagnant agriculture leads to stagnant local economies. For example, Pennsylvania has been hit by a large number of lantern flies. Since they have no natural predators in Pennsylvania, they breed in large numbers. Hundreds of thousands of flies affect the lives, agriculture, and economy of Pennsylvania. In agriculture, the large number of flies affects the local grape production, which directly leads to the development of the local wine industry. A large number of flies will always haunt people, causing people to be unable to live a normal life. Since they have no natural predators, people have to kill them by hand, remove their eggs, make special bottles to catch flies, and so on. (“Stomp and Squish”) Therefore, invasive organisms affect the economy, agriculture and even the way of life. 

In conclusion, the invasion of flies caused a great impact on the lives of the people in Pennsylvania.

(“Stomp and Squish ”) Biological invasion is no doubt a serious ecological problem. Invasive species have an impact on native life whether it’s animals or plants or plants humans. Over the years, people have tried to find many solutions, but they only solve the surface problem. As Margolis wrote in his article, people can change the crates to other materials, but there is no way to ensure that not a single bug will be brought aboard. As with the Pennsylvania lantern fly disaster, the government has no effective advice other than kill the eggs. The challenges posed by invasive species to ecosystems still require time, effort, patience and awareness, and to find better and more effective solutions.

Written by Jiatong Li

Works cited 

Margolis, Jason. “Insects Slipping into the US are Causing Billions of Dollars in Damage.”, 10 December, 2019. Accessed 19 March, 2021 

“Rampaging California King Snakes Devour Wildlife in Canary Islands.” 07 May, 2014. cc-ff55-4eel-a39a-6fa7488a31a3 Accessed 19 March, 2021 “Stomp and Squish: Pennsylvanians Battle ‘Nightmare’ Bugs.” Newsela.com11 October, 2019. Accessed 22 March, 2021 “Taking a Closer Look at the River Algae Nicknamed ‘Rock Snot’.” Newsela com. 13 June, 2014 Accessed 4 April, 2021

Are Freshwater Fish Contaminated? (

Harper-et-al-2019-Potential-Economic-Impact-of-the-Spotted-Lanternfly-on-Agriculture-and-Forestry-in-Pennsylvania.pdf (

State Agricultural Officials Urge Residents to Report Signs of Invasive Spotted Lanternfly |

What damage do lanternflies do?