Spotted Lanternflies Invade Temple’s Campus

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has issued an alert after an “invasive species” has been spotted in over 14 counties in eastern Pennsylvania, including right here on campus. 

The bugs are hard to miss, and students were beginning to wonder where they came from. Temple Update spoke to some of them. 

Junior Adelena Parker-Lewis said, “Honestly like I have been noticing them on the ground and been like… what is going on?”

She’s asking the same question as a lot of others: what is going on with the spotted bugs all over campus? 

Senior Natalie Gonzalez says, “I think they’re gross, I don’t like bugs”

Freshman Tyler Hertman said that “they’re the worst creatures.”

This creature has made a long journey to get here. The spotted lanternfly is an invasive species from China, first landing the United States in 2014. But it’s still here – and more than ever. So temple update spoke to ecology professor and researcher Matthew Helmus to find out why now?

He said, “This specific time of year, this is the time of year when the adults are mating. They’re swarming and flying around, looking for places to lay eggs. And now this is why we’re actually seeing them.”

If you’ve seen the flies around campus, don’t worry they’re not going to hurt you, but they are hurting our environment. So experts say you shouldn’t be afraid to stomp it out. 

Professor Helmus says the spotted lanternfly is eating important crops like grapes and killing trees. So he says it can only help you and your environment to do your part. 

“We don’t want the maple trees on campus – there are some birch trees on campus in Founder’s Garden, etc. We don’t want those infested with spotted lanternfly because next summer no one will be able to sit out there. It will just be dripping sap. So the more you kill on campus, the more there will be next year.”

Less is exactly what some students are hopeful for, who are already sick of their flying friends invading campus.        

“I don’t mind flies, spiders, but these lanternflies in specific… no good,” Tyler told Temple Update. 

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