Sorry to bug you, but the Hudson River Park Trust needs help with a pesky invasive plant hopper.
Distinctive looking and even a bit pretty, the spotted lanternfly was first spotted in the West Side waterfront park two years ago. But don’t let its looks fool you. According to the state-city authority that operates the 4-mile-long green space, the colorful bug has “an appetite for native trees and plants.”
Native to China, the insatiable insect was first spotted in Pennsylvania in 2014. In its original habitat, the plant-killing critters are kept at bay by “parasitic wasps.”
Meanwhile, here in New York City, the Trust is counting on parkgoers to stamp out, literally, or otherwise squash the lanternflies — though not to leave the park littered with lanternbug corpses.
The Trust urged: “If you see this insect in Hudson River Park (or anywhere in NYC), please squash and dispose of it in the nearest trash can.”
Lanternflies damage plants by feeding on sap and secreting a sticky substance that can encourage the growth of mold. Weaker, stressed trees are susceptible to disease and becoming infested by other insects.
Locals can help protect the health of the city’s trees and plants by keeping a lookout for this concerning species. For more information, learn more here.
Apart from the anti-lanternbug campaign, the park Trust also offers a nature walk with local naturalists for people to learn about Hudson Park plants and wildlife.