‘Squish it’: MI officials ask locals to help eliminate invasive bug

Shown is a spotted lanternfly in Philadelphia, Monday, Oct. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

By Lucas Henkel

October 13, 2023

Why it’s “light’s out” for this newly spotted invasive species in Michigan.

Grab the flyswatter, because an invasive species has been, well, spotted in the Mitten State and officials with the Michigan Invasive Species Program are urging Michiganders to squish it and report any potential sightings.

The spotted lanternfly, a bug that shares familial ties with cicadas and aphids, has recently been found in areas of Oakland County. These pests can spread to new locations by hitchhiking or laying eggs on vehicles and equipment that have traveled through infested areas. Once they attach themselves to a plant, the spotted lanternfly oozes large amounts of a sugar-rich, sticky liquid that can attract other pests—like yellow jackets, flies, and ants. This bug party could put a huge damper on your favorite outdoor activity and, if things get really bad, potentially jeopardize Michigan’s crops.

These colorful planthoppers are mostly likely to be spotted from late summer to early fall. MISP’s new campaign—“See it. Squish it. Report it.”—reminds Michiganders and visitors of the simple steps they can take to prevent new introductions of spotted lanternflies in the state.

“If you see a spotted lanternfly, yes, we really do want you to squish it if you can. Then, take a photo or two and report it to us through the online Eyes in the Field reporting system,” said Rob Miller, the invasive species prevention and response specialist for Michigan’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). “It’s important to get to know what the spotted lanternfly looks like, though, because we don’t want to target harmless native insects with pretty wings.”

If you are returning from out of state, it’s important to look for and destroy spotted lanternfly insects and egg masses that may be hiding on cars, trailers, firewood, camping gear or anything that’s been outside. To learn more information on the spotted lanternfly, including identification, look-alike species and how to report, check out Michigan.gov/SpottedLanternfly.


  • Lucas Henkel

    Lucas Henkel is a multimedia reporter who strives to inform and inspire local communities. Before joining The 'Gander, Lucas served as a journalist for the Lansing City Pulse.



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