West Philadelphia woman turns dead spotted lanternflies into jewelry

Paul Kurtz
September 30, 2019 - 4:00 am

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A West Philadelphia woman is creating art and financial opportunity out of spotted lanternfly carcasses. 

"Technically, I am a serial killer. I've been serial killing these things, right?" said Candice Jeffries, who creates spotted lanternfly earrings. 

To be fair, Jeffries doesn't slaughter lanternflies for sport. She enjoys creating wearables out of nature, so naturally, the light went on in her head the moment she laid eyes on the colorful, speckled insect that wreaks havoc on trees and plants. 

The idea to create lanternfly earrings was the result of nocturnal inspiration. 

"It was like, whatever that time is after the alarm goes off and you snooze it, that time when you fall back asleep like a daydream and I literally just thought of it in my sleep. And I woke up and said, 'I'm tryin' that today,'" she said. 

Earrings that Candice Jeffries made from spotted lanternfly wings.
Paul Kurtz/KYW Newsradio

Here's how she does it. 

"I clip the wings right where they're connected. I make it so the wings are separate so there is that spotted part of the lanternfly wing that you see. And then if you've ever seen them fly, they have a little red and black wing that pops out from underneath."

She then shapes the laminate into something resembling an upside down heart and attaches it to a fastener.  

While she enjoys creating the earrings, she does feel bad about killing. 

"I do feel bad for them," she said. "They don't know they're doing something bad. I don't feel bad enough not to kill them, clearly they have to be killed. They're just doing what they do."

She says she's gotten a nice response for the earrings, which go for $28 a pair on Etsy.