The hiking bug is the latest social media star.
The spotted lantern – An invasive insect that sucks nutrients from plants and threatens the country’s grape, orchard and logging industries – is having a moment. So are people who come up with innovative and unconventional ways to kill harmful pests. The videos on TikTok in which people kill or catch bugs, many of which have been posted in the past few months, have garnered more than 143 million views.
But what started as information Campaign on social media Called “See? Crush It!”—carried out by state and local park departments to advocate for common people’s participation in the eradication of the plant jumping bug—it began to conflict with other Internet phenomena, most notably ASMR. A tingling sensation in the brain that occurs in some people due to certain videos and audio clipswhich has created its own sub-genre of Internet creators.
Liv Volcker, better known as The first effect of the spotted lantern fly She garnered more than 7 million likes on her TikTok account which she dedicated to killing bugs.
Volcker, who regularly adds the ASMR tag to her videos, has promoted the “bottle method” of capturing spotted lanterns, using the pressure vacuum from an empty pressurized water bottle to suck out pests.
“There are times when just watching them go into the bottle is soothing and consistent,” she added.
Volcker’s bottle method is only one method. For others, the portable vacuum was the means of capture. Viewers can watch dozens of spotted lanterns fall into the void in a matter of seconds.
Briana Vazquez posted the blank video on TikTok using the hashtag ASMR and within the week it had nearly 2 million views.
“ASMR is this sensual thing, and people are constantly looking for new sounds to get rid of,” she said.
Besides ASMR, social media users have attempted to kill lanterns with homemade chemicals and DIY tree network alternatives, with many videos recording millions of views.
The insect phenomenon has shaped more than just a corner of TikTok and the ASMR world. The spotted lantern fly has gone viral on Twitter several times in the past few weeks with users sharing their mixed experiences crushing the invasive species.
The videos are a welcome addition for experts who have sought to raise public awareness about lantern flies.
Scientists at Penn State University The damage caused by the Unchecked Lantern Invasion could remove $554 million and nearly 5,000 jobs from Pennsylvania’s economy in just one year. Homeowners may be forced to pay thousands to eradicate pests from the outside of their homes.
“We are really concerned that they are showing up in the grape-growing regions of California, Oregon and Washington state,” said Julie Urban, associate professor of research at Penn State University. “If it was established in those areas, it would be really bad.”
Urban said advocacy and awareness raising during this viral moment are the keys to detecting and stopping the spread before it is too late.
The China spotted lantern fly, which was first discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014, is known for wandering. Thought to have arrived in America on a stone shipment, the bug commonly spreads by discreetly attaching its overgrowth eggs to vehicles, wood, or shipping materials.
This bug currently inhabits 14 states, mostly in the Northeast, and feeds on more than 70 species of plants, according to the Department of Agriculture.
In addition to the agricultural impact, Urban warned that the black substance, soot and mold secreted by insects can cause serious damage to home property values by permanently damaging the outdoors.
However, many scientists warn that the most dangerous effects of the spotted lantern fly have not yet appeared.
The lantern fly egg laying season begins in September, and while most adult insects die at the first freeze, the majority of eggs will survive, and can remain viable until the following July.
It is a common practice for conservationists during the egg-laying season to scrape egg clumps with a metal spoon-like tool.
Vasquez said she already plans to use egg scraping to make more videos.
“With winter comes egg-scraping, the new seasonal ASMR,” she said.