The dead bodies all over Amsterdam Avenue

About three years ago, these strange, large, spotted black and red flies started appearing in Manhattan. I started noticing them during my walks up to Trader Joe’s. They were hard to miss: they were literally flying everywhere in droves, and oddly, they love to hang out low to the ground. As I’d pass by our sister building two blocks away on my walk up to 72nd Street, I noticed that there were splatters of dead bodies all over the sidewalk. You knew they were the bodies of these dreaded spotted lantern flies because the black and red stains were huge, like a mix of some black who-knows-what and blood, or perhaps even appearing like ketchup. Porters of buildings would be cleaning the sidewalks, attempting to sweep and scrub these corpses off their sidewalks and off the walls of their properties. It was absolutely hideous.

These little scum flies came to New York from Pennsylvania and then New Jersey, but they are originally from China. While spotted lanternflies are harmless to humans, they are an invasive species that can apparently cause widespread economic harm by damaging some of our most beloved plants. They feed on the sap of more than 70 plants, and so they pose a huge threat to species like vineyards. They are also not going away anytime soon; they reproduce at ridiculously fast rates and in large numbers at a time. Spotted lanternflies are essentially the cockroaches of flies. Every single day I leave our building, I constantly am watching people dodge them, squash and kill them, and wipe and scrub them off buildings and sidewalks. It’s this never ending state of nastiness of these disgusting bugs and their invasion onto our daily turf.

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