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Bad Bug Alert

SPOTTED The spotted lanternfly has been found in at least nine states. The mothlike insect is an invasive species. LAUREN A. LITTLE—MEDIANEWS GROUP/READING EAGLE/GETTY IMAGES

The spotted lanternfly might look pretty with its red wings and black dots. But the insect is causing big problems in the United States, and experts are telling people to take action against the pest.

“Kill it! Squash it, smash it . . . just get rid of it.” That’s what the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture says to do if you see one.

The mothlike creature is native to Asia. In the U.S., it’s an invasive species. The bugs were found in Pennsylvania in 2014 and have now spread to at least nine states.

Spotted lanternflies are not dangerous to humans, but they cause serious harm to plants. They suck sap from trees and release a sticky substance after they feed, which causes mold to grow on plants