Mere moments before today's show, I was by my car in the parking lot grabbing my headphones when I was blindsided by a spotted lanternfly.

In case you need a refresher, the spotted lanternfly is, while aesthetically pleasing, an invasive species of insect that poses a great threat to crops and hardwood trees. In a news article about these wolves in sheep's clothing, Dino Flammia reports they make use of over 70 different plant species, including fruit trees, ornamental trees, vegetables, herbs, and vines. When feeding on the sap, they excrete a sugary substance that promotes growth of a sooty mold, which can weaken and kill plants or trees over time.

A New Jersey Department of Agriculture spokesperson actually recommends that if you see one anywhere, kill it as soon as you can.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, that's what I did. I took a swat at the weird ladybug moth looking hybrid monster knocking it to the ground. From there I took my oversized foot and smashed the piece of evil off the planet. I know, I know... I'm a hero. But you don't have to tell me, I already know. See the proof in the photo below.

Joe Votruba photo

To think that someone like me - so unbelievably scared of spiders, bees, wasps, roaches, and many other critters - could step up when it matters most, with all of New Jersey hanging in the crosshairs, and do what is needed makes me unbelievably proud. I could not be more thankful for the hundreds of times Jeff Deminski and Bill Doyle mocked my fear of bugs mercilessly to prepare me for this moment.

They toughened me up for when the pressure was at it's highest. Now I hope to pass on this courage to you. Maybe you too run away when you see bee come within 15 feet of you. Maybe when you see a spider on your window sill you close the window in fear instead of killing it or moving it outside. Well let today's triumph be a shining light, a northern star if you will, a symbol of hope that you too can kill a bug that the state asks you to eradicate off this planet.

Rest in agony, spotted lanternfly.

Questions, corrections, or comments? Send Joe Votruba an email. Follow Joe on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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