It's a pest people in Pennsylvania love to hate and this year spotted lanternflies will be back and, in some areas, not bigger than ever, but there will be a lot of them.

"We have noticed in some cases that lanternflies were smaller last year than they have been in previous years and we don't know why. Researchers are looking into it," said Emelie Swackhamer, a lanternfly expert with Penn State Extension.

Swackhamer said last year there was hope that a fungus could be the natural predator scientists have been looking for to control the lanternfly population, but the results of studies were inconclusive.

"We really want people to not panic and scout your landscape to see where the pests are... and then react to those situations," said Swackhamer.

Robert Christopher, city forester for Easton, said spotted lanternflies are attracted to radiating heat, which is why you often see them in the Lehigh Valley's urban areas.

He said Easton and other municipalities try to remove the Tree of Heaven, the lanternflies' favorite spot, from public places.

Trees that can't be removed are treated, an expensive and lengthy process.

"They're almost equivalent to us as humans as a stink bug. They're a huge nuisance," Christopher said.

Christopher said if you want to lessen the nuisance on your property, the next few weeks are a good time to start treating problem trees.

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