City Cast

Are Lanternflies Disappearing in Pennsylvania?

Brittany Valentine
Brittany Valentine
Posted on August 16
up-close photo of spotted lanternfly

Spotted lanternflies were first seen in Pennsylvania in 2014. (Vicki Jauron/Getty Images)

For the last three summers, spotted lanternflies seemed to be everywhere on the streets of Philly and across the state.

But this year, there are a lot fewer. What’s going on? It’s a combination of a few factors. S/O to PennLive for breaking down the reasons behind this welcome environmental change 📉

Natural Peak:

According to Shannon Powers, spokesperson for the PA Department of Agriculture, lanternfly populations tend to peak in their third year and then drop off. This is the case for lanternflies in the Harrisburg area.

Master Squashers:

Powers also said that Pennsylvanians have become more adept at spotting and stomping on lanternflies, which could be why we’re seeing less this year.

Natural Predators:

Lanternfly researcher Brian Walsh said that natural predators, aka 'assassin bugs’ such as such as praying mantises and wasps, are feasting on lanternflies and lanternfly eggs.

Dry Weather:

Walsh also noted that dry weather can impact population density, and Philly was under a drought watch for much of the summer.

So, no, these invasive pests aren’t technically disappearing, but their population is fluctuating. I’ll take it!

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