Why I Quit My Underpaying Job of Killing Spotted Lanternflies

Last summer, when New York and New Jersey made their informational campaigns encouraging all residents to kill the quickly multiplying spotted lanternflies in the area, I was energized with a purpose to keep their population down. Now, a full year later, I realize that I was actually duped into an unpaid internship, which inspired me to finally quit.


I was happy to volunteer my time in the beginning — it felt like a huge communal effort, and I enjoyed lending a helping hand. But after learning that one summer of squishing those pesky bugs wasn’t enough to get rid of them for good, I’m now demanding a paycheck in order for me to continue the hard work. After all, there’s only so much labor I can perform until I expect to be paid for it. 


I did my due diligence stepping on every spotted lanternfly I saw last year, but I also have an actual full-time job that comes first, and frankly, I don’t have the energy to be an exterminator without receiving any money in return.


Invasive species? Yeah, they’re invading my free time!


Obviously, I need to put my own time and energy first, which means that I can’t be expected to work for free. Plus, it seems like there’s even more spotted lanternflies this summer than the last. I guess this means that many others have also decided to quit this demanding, unpaid job, and I salute them for it!


I’m formally asking the New York State government for compensation in order to continue the job of brutally smashing big gross bugs on the street, and I don’t think that’s unfair at all.


Is it really reasonable to ask me, as well as all of the other citizens of New York, to kill scary bugs for years to come without sending us all regular paychecks? I don’t think so. I mean, what’s next? Asking us to kill all the rats for free too? 



I refuse to work without pay for any longer, especially when the work is killing huge moth-like bugs that almost never die with just one stomp.


I’m not saying that everyone should stop killing the spotted lanternflies, quite the contrary. I’m only suggesting that we should be paid a fixed rate for each lanternfly we kill — say, five dollars per dead bug. I, for one, would be extremely motivated to kill the planthoppers if this was the case, and I’m sure everyone else in the tri-state area would be too.


Your move, Kathy Hochul.