Saturday, January 29, 2022

Spotted Lanternfly Sanctuary

If you live in the eastern part of this nation, you probably have heard of the Spotted Lanternfly.  If you haven't, they're an invasive plant-hopping insect native to China that threatens vineyards, orchards, and the logging industry.  We Pennsylvanians have been ordered to kill them on sight.  There's only one problem:  they're kindof cute.

So a few years ago, I was sitting on my porch and I saw something float down from way up at tree level.  My eyes followed it until it landed in a shrub next to where I was sitting.  I saw this gray "moth" with long black legs.  Beautiful thing with Halloween coloring (but only as it flew).  So I walk over and put my finger in front of it.  He/She/It walks onto my fingertip and stays there for a bit.  I study this little guy and I feel like a ten-year-old boy, because I had never seen anything quite like it before.  I'm thinking of how this insect species will probably be named after me since I discovered it when he/she/it gets spooked and flicks away, with bright orange wings.  I said, "Fly free, little guy!" and sat back down.

That's when I remembered a sign I had seen on a hike at a local walking trail.  A sign I ignored every time I saw it.  Something about a bug.  With orange coloring when its wings were spread.  The Spotted Lanternfly.  Google educated me quickly.  The coming weeks saw tons of these things.  They were everywhere.  So many that they'd land on you if you were outside too long.  

Then...  the stomping.  Kids in my neighborhood would be seen delighting in the act of smacking, smashing, and stomping these gray and orange bugs.  One day, in front of my house, some kids from up the street were stomping a few of my buddies into the next realm.  I think it was the smiles on their faces that made me do it.  In true old man form, I shouted over "Hey, leave them alone!" (haha)

They stopped and proclaimed "They're lanternflies!  We're supposed to!"  What came next wasn't rehearsed or planned.  And I'm not sure where it came from exactly, but I retorted (to children) "Well, not on THIS property.  This is a Spotted Lanternfly Sanctuary!"  They listened and left.  And a handful of lanternflies lived another day to ruin human life.   

It's complicated.

Anyways, looks like they've moved on (the lanternflies, not the kids [I can hear them shouting {the kids, not the lanternflies}]).  As there were so few lanternflies this past season as to suggest they've either been weakened by our unpredictable seasons (that's the current theory), moved on to find a better food source, or have been stomped to borderline extinction by angry kids.   Thankfully they've left something behind.  Honey.  Dark, delicious, mysterious honey.

Apparently, Spotted Lanternflies have excretions that are the delight of honeybees.  This "honeydew" is eaten by the bees and transforms their honey into something pretty neat.  In the words of one company that sells the honey, it's a robust fall honey with a smokey flavor.  

Happy to report, the guy was right.  I ordered some last season and it was pretty remarkable.  Super smokey flavor that reminded me of a very sweet apple cider donut.  Very unique and unlike anything I had tasted before.  

Kinda pricey for a small jar, but click below if you want to pick some up.  It's called Doom Bloom.  


Willow Cove said...

I can imagine you whispering as you take a spoonful- "The Bug is the Spice" :)

Rot said...

haha you KNOW it.

Lady M said...

Wow interesting post. I learned a lot and never knew you were such a live and let live Buddhist type. The honey sounds intriguing.

Rot said...

Though I think if they looked like some kind of horrid spider with wings I'd be all for the cruelty. If they were flying Ticks, I'd be out there stomping away.

Revenant Manor said...

I learned, I laughed, I was a tour de force!

This was wonderfully informative, entertaining, and legitimately transportive.

And, for what it's worth, I would also have channeled all of my available old-man-yells-get-off-my-lawn-energy at those gleefully stomping youngins.

Rot said...


glad you enjoyed!
and that we're on the same team! haha

Holy Tarra said...

So interesting! I never heard of these guys. I wonder what function the two little orange
things under his eyes serve.

Rot said...

Funny as I have tried to figure out what those are and there aren't any diagrams of the different features. Everything is too concerned about wanting to obliterate them.

When I first saw my little guy, I assumed those dots were his eyes, but then I saw the larger ones above.

Undeadpumpkinbread said...

What beautiful little creatures! I would have totally turned into a screeching, old crone with those kids. It reminds me of when I was in high school, and in CO we would always have a seasonal migration of Miller Moths, and they would be freaking everywhere! I happen to love them, because I love any kind of moth/butterfly, but they seriously were there by the millions. So anyway I remember being in the lunchroom one day, and I was sitting by myself, and there was a table close to me, of guys that were torturing, and killing them. Like you, I have no idea where this came from, because I was always extremely shy and meek growing up, but I yelled at them to leave them alone! Of course, that only made them more enthusiastic, and the ringleader, picked one of them up, smashed it into his burger, and then put the other half of the bun on top, and ground it into his tray. Then they all started laughing at me. I left defeated, and sad.

As far as the honey goes, I am extremely interested in trying that. I’ve had many other unique types, but never one THAT different.

Rot said...

Ugh. That stinks. What a way to end up if you're a bug.
Gonna google that moth.

But as they say, the only GOOD bug... haha