The general public is pitching in when it comes to the management of a pest that California is keeping an eye on. The spotted lanternfly infested Pennsylvania five years ago and has aggressively spread to surrounding states. The pest has not reached California yet, and contrary to its name it’s technically a planthopper and has a long host list with grapevines being near the top. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture issued a public order for residents to exterminate the bug if they see it. Philadelphians have taken those marching orders to another level.
An opinion-article written by Jared Brey in the Philadelphia Inquirer documented how Philly’s so-called ‘hatred of outsiders’ has the general public aggressively killing spotted lanternfly. Brey wrote about a resident that saw a smattering of dead lanternflies on the sidewalk that inspired her to make a logo. The artwork uses the Philadelphia Flyers mascot named ‘Gritty’, and the group calls themselves ‘The Keystone State Lanternfly Kill Squad’.
The author says the viral movement is another example of Philadelphians disdain for outlanders which is quick and sometimes rather brutal. Philadelphia is the city who’s fans booed and threw snowballs at Santa Claus during a football in the 1960s. Another Philadelphian in the article killed one lanternfly, then 20 more, only to see a more significant infestation nearby. She told the Inquirer she felt like the effort was a waste, comparing it to one person trying to fight climate change. However, her Philly-roots then re-emerged as she told the paper, “I will squash again.” The viral kill-squad puts a new spin on integrated pest management.