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Squash Chicago’s Newest Invasive Species: Spotted Lanternflies

Sidney Madden
Sidney Madden
Posted on October 19
An adult spotted lanternfly in Huntington, Indiana, in 2022

An adult spotted lanternfly in Huntington, Indiana, in 2022. (Andy Lavalley / Post-Tribune / Tribune / Getty)

The spotted lanternfly was officially seen in Illinois last month. If you see one, experts say you should squash it and take a photo.

How Did the Spotted Lanternfly Arrive Here?

Native to Asia, the invasive planthopper arrived in Pennsylvania almost a decade ago likely via shipping containers. Because lanternflies like to lay eggs on flat surfaces, the species’ population has spread along railway routes. The insect might have been here before it was officially spotted, Morton Arboretum's Stephanie Adams told Block Club.

Are Spotted Lanternflies Dangerous?

While they haven’t posed a threat to humans or local wildlife, the moth-like insect with red spotted wings excretes a waste product called honeydew. The sticky substance covers plants and trees, which can lead to mold, according to the University of Illinois Extension.

What Can You Do to Help Prevent the Bug’s Spread?

  • 📸 Take a photo and send to
  • 💥 Squish spotted lanternflies.
  • 🗑️ Scrape egg masses into the garbage.
  • 🚗 Check your vehicle to make sure you’re not transporting them.
  • 🗣️ Tell others about how to get rid of the invasive species!
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