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Philadelphia Police: Please Stop Calling 911 Over Spotted Lanternfly Sightings

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Philadelphia police have issued a public service announcement: Please do not contact authorities if you see a Spotted Lanternfly. Instead, the department said on Twitter that the insects are not a police issue and Philly should welcome "our new insect overlords."

"Please do NOT call 911 to report #SpottedLanternfly sightings," the police department wrote in a tweet. "While they are a nuisance, they are not a police issue. And on that note, we, for one, would like to welcome our new insect overlords. Maybe they would like to build some nests on our vast concrete headquarters."

Spotted lanternflies have invaded the Delaware Valley this summer, destroying trees, crops and even leaving behind a foul-smelling sticky, tar-like substance.

The insects, while native to Asia, were first spotted in Pennsylvania in Berks County but has since spread into southeastern Pennsylvania -- including at Ridley Creek State Park in Delaware County.

"It's not a good smell," Ridley Creek State Park Manager Phillip Schmidt told CBS3 in August. " We call it 'dew,' and if you stand under this tree right now, it seems like it's raining. It's the dew coming out of them."

Invasive Spotted Lanternflies Have Made Their Way To South Jersey

Insect experts say spotted lanternflies have no known predators and can potentially cause millions in damage by destroying trees and crops.

State and federal officials have been treating places the insects have been reported with pesticides.

Invasive Spotted Lanternflies Morphing, Becoming More Destructive

Penn State Extension has information on how to manage the insects for homeowners who have seen an influx of them. It's recommended businesses incorporate spotted lanternflies into its pest management plans.

Instead of contacting the police, people can report spotted lanternfly sightings to Penn State Extension by clicking here.

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