What to know about invasive species and why you should kill everything you see – NBC Chicago

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An invasive insect species that targets fruit trees and other plants is slowly making its way to Illinois, and if you see one, the experts have a tip.

Destroy it and report it.

According to Dr. Doug Taron, chief curator of the Chicago Academy of Sciences, the spotted lanternfly, native to areas outside of North America, has been in the news lately as it continues to move its territory across the United States. at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

“We are trying to slow down and prevent their spread to larger parts of North America,” he said.

The spotted lanternfly is a federally regulated invasive pest, with experts warning that the insect can target many different plants, including fruit trees.

Apples, peaches, cherries, grapes and other types of trees have all been targeted by the insect, which has been found in many places, including Indiana.

Taron says the insect can adapt to urban areas, and while unable to fly long distances, it’s an incredibly adept hitchhiker.

“They’re suited for urban areas, and unfortunately we’ll see them in Illinois in the next two years.”

The insect is distinguished by its gray and red color pattern, with colorful, speckled wings.

According to experts, plants infested by the insect may begin to ooze and give off a fermenting smell and tend to produce a buildup of sticky liquid.

Taron says there are two things residents of Illinois and Indiana should do if they spot the insect.

“If you see a lantern, do two things: crush it and report it to the Department of Agriculture,” he said.

Residents who spot the insect are encouraged to send a photo to [email protected] and contact the Department of Agriculture at 815-787-5476.

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