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Baltimore bracing for spotted lanternfly outbreak

spotted lanternfly.jpeg
Posted at 5:02 PM, May 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-22 19:20:56-04

BALTIMORE — Since they arrived in 2018, spotted lantern flies have spread to almost every county in Maryland.

Now, the invasive species seems to be taking over Baltimore.

“I don’t wanna sugarcoat it, I think Baltimoreans are probably going to be in for a rough time this year and it may even be climbing," said Kenton Sumpter, an entomologist with the Maryland Department of Agriculture.

They’re mainly harmless, only having a major impact on certain crops and vineyards along with putting stress on trees.

Sumpter thinks they’re in the area because there’s a lot of trees lantern flies thrive on in the city and county.

That could mean hundreds of the flies on your car or plants.

“There could be hundreds sticking to your house, eating garden crops, ornamental trees, trees in neighborhoods," said Sumpter.

People in Havre De Grace who already had a large outbreak have said at times they can’t even be outside because it’s so bad.

Fortunately, it won’t last forever.

“I guess the broad take home is no insect outbreak stays at outbreak level forever," said Sumpter.

"There will always be something that brings them back down," Sumpter added.

The lantern flies don’t provide a real threat, though they can be a nuisance.

“So there’s no reason to go and use extreme methods to control them. No need to inundate them with insecticides like using a bunch of 7 or Ortho in a city and spraying it on your house and your neighbors house, especially in a city is going to be more dangerous to the user," said Sumpter.

If you see them, smash them is the best way to control the population.

You should also check your car before driving out of the Baltimore area to make sure you’re not spreading them to other areas.