NORTH WALES, Pa. (CBS) — If you haven’t seen one yet in person, you soon likely will. The spotted lanternfly, an invasive fly originally from Asia, made its way into the Delaware Valley.
The invasion has inspired the creativity of a Montgomery County photographer, who made a horror film with the lanternfly as the star.
Mike Allebach’s North Wales photography studio Allebach Photography is normally booked for couples sharing an intimate moment.
“They really leave feeling sexy and confident,” Allebach said.
Allebach is known for his unique take on boudoir photography.
“So when they come in here and they have the session, this is life-changing,” Allebach said.
But when an unannounced model came in for an unwanted booking, Allebach’s week changed.
“There was 20 of them in here the other day,” he said.
The spotted lanternfly has been a nuisance, to put it nicely, since 2014.
In the past few months, the population has exploded with sightings of the red-backed bug now common even in the concrete jungle that is Philadelphia.
The invasive insect destroys crops and trees.
“I watched people outside stomp on them and everything, and that’s when it hit me,” Allebach said.
With a $50 budget, Allebach purchased stock video and got it on his cellphone.
“They’re everywhere,” Allebach said. “That’s kind of the thing with the video. You can’t go anywhere. That’s what you’re talking about is these lanternflies.”
State officials say killing and then reporting the insects is the correct move.
A hammer is not required.
“I wanted people to think this is a horror film and chuckle at the end,” Allebach said. “This is funny, but it’s also kind of a PSA.”
Officials have created an online reporting system to report sightings of the destructive pest.
An SLF quarantine is in effect for 14 counties in Pennsylvania. People can report the insect sightings online here or by calling 1-888-422-3359.