In the Logan Square neighborhood of Philadelphia, we spotted the Grow Up Green 2021 Butterfly exhibit at Sister Cities Park.
Among the painted Monarch and Cabbage White butterflies was a Spotted Lanternfly piece, with the warning: “Not a Butterfly! STOMP THIS INVASIVE BUG!
The trademark gold, red, black, and white wings of the art piece were signed, presumably by the artists. A placard beneath gives plenty of detail about the SLF, which we’ve transcribed below.
SLF is a serious invasive pest with a healthy appetite for our plants and it can be a significant nuisance, affecting the quality of life and enjoyment of the outdoors. If not contained, spotted lanternfly potentially could drain Pennsylvania’s economy of at least $324 million annually, according to a study carried out by economists at Penn State. The spotted lanternfly uses its piercing-sucking mouthpart to feed on sap from over 70 different plant species. It has a strong preference for economically important plants including grapevines, maple trees, black walnut, birch, willow and other trees. The feeding damage significantly stresses the plants which can lead to decreased health and potentially death.
As SLF feeds, the insect excretes honeydew (a sugary substance) which can attract bees, wasps, and other insects. The honeydew also builds up and promotes the growth for sooty mold (fungi), which can cover the plan, forest understories, patio furniture, cars, and anything else found below SLF feeding.