“Kill it! Squash it, smash it . . . just get rid of it.” Those instructions are from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. They are part of an effort to stop the spotted lanternfly. The pest has been found across the eastern United States. It is harmful to some plants. Officials are asking people to keep its population from spreading.
The spotted lanternfly comes from Asia. In 2014, it was found in Pennsylvania. Now it is in 13 states. To stop its spread, people are spraying pesticides. They are cutting down ailanthus trees. Those trees are a favorite of the insect.
In Brooklyn, New York, Stephen Nixon saw a lanternfly on the ground. “I don’t like killing things,” he says. But he stomped on it.