Spotted lanternfly squashing was once all the rage in Pennsylvania. Is that zeal fading?

Spotted lanternfly squashing was once all the rage in Pennsylvania. Is that zeal fading?

Published August 16, 2022
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In some ways, the robot — a Canadian traveler and social experiment famously dismembered on a roadside in Philly — got off easy. The lanternfly, by comparison, has unleashed and sustained the Quaker State’s blood lust for several years running. That’s largely thanks to state-issued kill-on-sight orders meant to curb the spread of the ecologically and economically threatening pest through altruistic violence.

Brad Line — creator of the Squishr app, probably the best tool available for gauging such a thing — thinks so. He says app usage is down here and rising in other states where the invasive bug is new and the novelty of the hunt is still fresh.

”I think there’s a fatigue factor setting in,” Line told PA Local by phone. “I mean, we had some people [in Pennsylvania] who were spending hours a day squishing these things and recording them in the app. And, you know, after a year or two or a summer or two of doing that, you kind of say ‘OK, well, I’ve probably got better things to do with my time.’”

Line added: “In the early going, we had people who were literally doing thousands of posts of dead bugs a day. There was this one woman who would literally fill five-gallon buckets with the carcasses of spotted lanternflies. It was insane.”