A spotted lanternfly, indigenous to China and Southeast Asia, is infesting the Northeast Christmas tree supply faster than you can say “Happy Holidays” and New York Senator Chuck Schumer is in no mood for the seasonal interloper.
Holding a press conference in his Midtown office in Manhattan on Sunday afternoon, Schumer warned that Pennsylvania and New Jersey have already been impacted and the invasive insect has its tentacles set on New York.
While most New Yorkers get their fresh trees from street vendors from up-and-down the Eastern Corridor, Schumer said the trees could be hiding unwanted presents in the form of the spotted lantern flies.
“This little critter looks nice, but he’s no lovebug,” said Schumer according to WCBS 880.
— Steve Burns (@StvBurns) December 16, 2018
According to New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation, these bugs can jump and fly short distances and often hitch rides to new areas when they lay their eggs on vehicles, firewood, and inadvertently transported to new areas.
They hadn’t been spotted in New York until 2014, but now in many state – particularly Pennsylvania, which sends us a lot of our Christmas trees – they are an infestation.
Schumer said the bug has already been spotted in Suffolk County and Albany and is requesting the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide New York $17.5 million in federal funding, resources and expertise to NYC as soon as possible, as reported by the NY Daily News.
“If we do nothing about them, trees in Central Park, on the streets of New York City, and in our beautiful leafy suburbs could very well be at risk.”
The concern is not only about the bugs in trees imported from other states but the eggs that could hatch, further complicating efforts to eradicate the insect.
“Any chance for some these unwelcome bugs to hitch a free ride to Manhattan is a chance we cannot take,” Schumer said at the press conference.
If you think you’ve found a spotted lanternfly in New York, New York State recommends the following: note the location, take pictures of the insect, and e-mail: email@example.com