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Bye-Bye, Lanternfly

SEEING SPOTS The spotted lanternfly has red and black markings on its wings. This one was seen on a sidewalk in Jersey City, New Jersey, on August 6. GARY HERSHORN—GETTY IMAGES

“Kill it! Squash it, smash it . . . just get rid of it.” Those are instructions from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. They’re part of an effort to stop the spotted lanternfly, an insect that’s harmful to certain plants. Across the eastern United States, officials are asking people who see the bug to do whatever they can to keep its population from spreading.

“The damage this invasive species can do in harming important crops and impacting our food system is real,” Chris Logue told the New York Times. He works for the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

The spotted lanternfly comes from Asia. In 2014, it was found in Pennsylvania. Now it’s shown up in 13 states. The bug sometimes travels by hanging on a surface like a car. Or it lays its eggs on a car and they hatch miles away. People are spraying pesticides and cutting down ailanthus trees, a favorite of the sap-eating insect.

“I don’t like killing things. Not many people do,” says skateboarder Stephen Nixon, in Brooklyn, New York. But when he saw a spotted lanternfly nearby, he stomped on it.

Stop & Think! What quotes do you see in the article? Where do they come from? What do these quotes tell us about the lanternfly problem?