An invasive insect’s eggs will be hatching in April, and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources wants you to be on the lookout.

We have heard a lot about invasive plants and insects in Indiana recently. Everything from a mussel species to Poison Hemlock has been talked about taking over Indiana, and those are just examples. There are a lot of other invasive species out there that are invading the area. Another invasive insect that has been recently talked about is the spotted lanternfly. If you spot it, you are given full permission to kill it.

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Spotted Lanternfly Spotted In Indiana

In 2021 the Indiana DNR reported the first spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) found in Indiana in Switzerland County, More recently, in 2022, the insect was found in the Huntington area in northern Indiana according to the Courier & Press. These invasive insects have been spotted more times than they have probably been reported in Indiana, and according to our friends at Eyewitness News, Indiana DNR says that the spotted lanternfly sightings are occurring a lot more often.

How To Spot A Spotted Lanternfly

The immature stage of a Spotted Lanternfly often appears black with white spots, and they develop red patches as they mature. As an adult, the Spotted Lanternfly is about one inch long and half an inch wide, with tan, semi-transparent forewings, black spots, patches of red and black and a white band, and a yellow and black abdomen.

According to Eyewitness News, DNR started scraping egg masses at affected sites in early February and has destroyed more than 540,000 eggs. These eggs will soon be hatching. Here's what the Indiana DNR says about what happens after they hatch:

<p>Nymphs emerge in April or May and have four instars or growth stages. The first three instars are black with white spots. The fourth instar retains the white spots but has a red and black body with red wing pads. The first to fourth instar ranges in size from a 1/8 of an inch to a little over a half inch long.</p><p>The nymphs will climb into trees shortly after they emerge. They will drop off the trees when they encounter a physical obstacle or disturbance from the wind and start climbing up again. Fourth instar nymphs develop into adults in late June or early July. Adults continue to feed on plant tissues. Mating and egg deposition begin in September and continue until a hard frost.</p>
Top view of spotted lantern fly, Chester County, Pennsylvania
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Signs Of Spotted Lanternfly Infestation

According to a recent report from Fox News, signs of infestation include sap oozing from tree trunks; 1-inch-long, brownish-gray or brown and scaly egg masses; and honeydew build-up under plants. The lanternflies excrete honeydew, which encourages the growth of black sooty mold.

Swarm of spotted lantern flies on tree.
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Why Should You Kill These Insects?

Again, Indiana DNR asks that if you see one of these insects, you should kill it. That may sound pretty harsh, especially since they are harmless to humans. So why should you kill them?

The USDA National Invasive Species Information Center says it poses a "serious economic threat to multiple U.S. industries." These insects feed on agricultural crops like grapes, apples, hops. They also feed on maple, walnut, and willow trees.

Anyone that spots signs of the spotted lanternfly should contact DEPP by calling 866-NO EXOTIC (866-663-9684) or send an email to DEPP@dnr.IN.gov. So basically, if you see something, say something...just make sure you "take care" of that something first.

(H/T- Fox NewsIndiana DNRThe USDA National Invasive Species Information Center)

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