Squishing spotted lanternflies? There's an app for that

Charlotte Reese
October 14, 2019 - 4:30 am
Brad Line of Villanova and his sons, Grayson and Nolan, showing off their app, Squishr, for tracking spotted lanternflies.

Charlotte Reese/KYW Newsradio

VILLANOVA, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — Brad Line's kids love to squish spotted lanternflies.

So when the Villanova resident was driving his two sons to summer camp in Oaks, he came up with an idea.

"Their favorite thing to do was find all the spotted lanternflies around my work — there are just hundreds — and stomp on them and squish them," Line explained. "And we started talking and they said, 'We should have an app for doing this.'"

Line, who already has a background in IT and software design, made a mock-up of screenshots and how he envisioned the app to run. By mid-September — with the help of a freelance site — Squishr was created. 

The app lets users upload pictures and track their spotted lanternfly kills with GPS location data. There is a list of "Today's Top Squishers" on the main screen, a map to see where people are uploading their lanternfly kills, and other information about the bug and app. 

Right away, Line said his kids, Greyson, 13, and Nolan, 7, had "all sorts of ideas" to improve the new app. But he told them to wait until at least 100 people download it.  

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"After it was out there for one day, 130 people downloaded it," Line laughed. "So I knew I was in trouble."

The Department of Agriculture in Pennsylvania and Maryland have already contacted him about the app. Line hopes he can help more states in tracking the bug. 

"There's really two things that we wanted to do: make it a little more fun to squish these lanternflies, and my thought was if we can share this data with our departments of agriculture, that might be useful." 

Line is not concerned about the money aspect of this project. So far he has relied on word of mouth, some posts in Facebook groups and a couple media stories. The big win for Line is working alongside his kids. 

"To let them see — and myself, quite honestly — something from the very kernel of an idea, through the actual build, and now to have people actually using the app, it's just a great experience for all of us." 

The app is only available for iOS, but they are working on an Android version, as well as other updates.