Philly police: See a spotted lanternfly? Don't call 911

PHILADELPHIA - The spotted lanternfly can be a nuisance, and the invasive insect poses a serious threat to Pennsylvania's agriculture industry, but Philadelphia police have a message for the city's residents and visitors.

"Please do NOT call 911 to report #SpottedLanternfly sightings," the department posted on its official Twitter account Thursday morning. "While they are a nuisance, they are not a police issue."

The lanternfly, which was first discovered in the U.S. in Berks County in 2014, has since spread to surrounding counties in southeastern and central Pennsylvania as well as the surrounding states of Maryland and New Jersey.

"And on that note, we, for one, would like to welcome our new insect overlords," Philly police continued in their light-hearted tweet, which included an image of Kent Brockman, the newscaster on TV's "The Simpsons." "Maybe they would like to build some nests on our vast concrete headquarters?"

According to a report by WPVI-TV on Wednesday, the spotted lanternflies have recently become a nuisance in downtown Philadelphia, flying into people's faces and sticking to their hair and clothing.

The spotted lanternfly threatens $18 billion worth of Pennsylvania agricultural products, including apples, cherries, grapes, hops, peaches, plums and ornamental and hardwood trees.

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