By Conway Lynch
The spotted lanternfly. If you’re a Pennsylvania resident, you’ve likely heard all about this invasive planthopper. If you haven’t, I hope you’re prepared for war. In its natural habitat— China, Vietnam and India—the pest is restrained by natural predators and pathogens, but here in Pennsylvania and on campus, there is nothing keeping the lanternfly’s destructive potential at bay. They’re threatening our GreenStar “most beautifully-maintained” status. Below is a list of what I believe to be the most effective strategies for combating these tree killers.
A campus-wide task force
A task force on campus could make short work of these pesky bugs. Called the “Killer Bears,” these devout KU students and faculty would roam the grounds, hungry for the crunch of exoskeleton, hunting. I’d imagine the administration would arm them with flamethrowers or fly swatters at the very least. As a bonus, the task force would serve as a great club for psychopaths—a group that’s often neglected.
Be tolerant and accepting
We as students and faculty know that the most effective solution to change is tolerance and acceptance. I propose we take this mantra and apply it to the lanternfly invasion. We must learn to see the good in these pests and turn them into pets.
A mass major switch
Penn State is leading the way in lanternfly research, they’re working with the Pennsylvania government and the feds, but judging by the flies covering the trees outside my window, they’re not doing enough. That’s why I propose all students at KU switch their majors to biology. With the huge influx of researchers, KU alone could create a bioweapon in no time. KU would single-handedly save the environment and appear far more qualified than Penn State. Consequently, enrollment would skyrocket.
A good dose of herbicides
KU should seriously consider eradicating all plant life on campus: no trees, no bushes, no grass, nothing. The way I see it, one of our only options could be a couple of crop-dusters flying overhead, drenching the campus in chemicals. This is considered scorched Earth fighting. After only a few days, Kutztown would rise from the ashes like a phoenix, a clean slate lanternfly free.
Offer kill incentives
Like the lanternfly, people are most effective when they work in groups. Imagine if KU offered incentives for confirmed lantern fly kills. I’m talking ten crushes equals free coffee; fifty, priority enrollment; one hundred, discounted tuition; etc. With a reward system in place and some sort of leaderboard, students would be clamoring to crush the invaders.
Whether we wind up with a flamethrower-wielding task force, house pets, biology majors, an Agent Orange hellscape or a campus-wide bug killing spree, something needs to be done about these pests.