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Invasive Spotted Lanternflies Destroying Trees, Crops In Pennsylvania And Leaving Behind Foul-Smelling 'Dew'

RIDLEY CREEK STATE PARK, Pa. (CBS) -- An invasive fly has shown up in our region -- it's called the Spotted Lanternfly. It's doing damage to trees and plants, and an effort is underway to wage a fight against the fly.

The state says "kill 'em," explaining it's the only way to stop the invasive Spotted Lanternfly. Ridley Creek State Park Manager Phillip Schmidt hiked a trail at Ridley Creek State Park with Eyewitness News on Monday.

What we found of the forewarned little critter was eye-opening.

"Still just seeing it in person blows my mind. They're on the entire tree, the entire tree is covered with them," Schmidt said.

spotted lanternfly
Credit: Penn State

The Spotted Lanternfly is native to Asia. For a few years, state officials have warned of its spread into southeastern Pennsylvania.

The invasive pest has no known predators and are capable of destroying trees and crops, potentially costing millions in damage.

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TJ Hockensmith and Taylor Gordon had just hiked by the infestation when we bumped into them on our way.

"It was just full, the whole bottom was just encased in them," Radnor resident Gordon said.

"There's just a lot of them," Hockensmith said. "Walking past them was pretty intimidating."

ALARMING: Spotted Lanternfly clustered by the hundreds on trees at Ridley Creek State Park. CBS Philly

Posted by Joe Holden on Monday, August 5, 2019

And then there's the sticky, tar-like substance they leave behind.

"It's not a good smell," Schmidt said.

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"We call it 'dew,' and if you stand under this tree right now, it seems like it's raining," Schmidt said. "It's the dew coming out of them."

Pretty disgusting.

The park plans to spray the tree to kill the Lanternflies, Schmidt knows these pests will only move on to their next meal.

"We should visit China if we want to see these. We should not have these in our backyard," Schmidt said. "This skeeves me out. I don't want to walk by a tree like this."

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