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PLNA e-News: Plants, Pests & Diseases

Spotted Lanternfly Now Found in Portions of Four PA Counties

Wednesday, November 18, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Cathy Corrigan
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HARRISBURG - The spotted lanternfly has now been found in one additional municipality in Berks County; an additional township in Montgomery County and has appeared in parts of Bucks and Chester Counties. The additional quarantined municipalities include Boyertown Borough, Berks County; Douglass Township, Montgomery County; Milford Township including Trumbauersville Borough, Bucks County; and South Coventry Township, Chester County.

These additions are a result of an ongoing delimiting survey with active participation of local, state, and community partners. New detections allow the spotted lanternfly control program to hone its outreach and control efforts, working to end the spread of the insect.

The quarantine area now covers:

Berks County: Colebrookdale, District, Earl, Hereford, Longswamp, Oley, Pike, Rockland and Washington townships and the boroughs of Bally, Bechtelsville, Boyertown and Topton.

Montgomery County: Douglass and Upper Hanover townships and the boroughs of East Greenville, Pennsburg and Red Hill.

Bucks County: Milford Township and Trumbauersville Borough.

Chester County: South Coventry Township.

“We are pleased that the residents and businesses in the area continue to be vigilant and turn in specimens of the spotted lanternfly,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “This is a key to winning the battle against the pest. The populations of insects are not high in these newly identified townships. With our community partners, we will continue our surveying and control efforts to ensure we are doing everything we can to eradicate this pest.”

While the quarantined areas cover four adjacent counties, South Coventry Township in Chester County is an isolated quarantine area, not directly connected to any other quarantine area. Survey continues in the corridor between South Coventry and the rest of the spotted lanternfly quarantine, making it possible that spotted lanternfly will be detected in those areas as well. Until that time, South Coventry Township residents and businesses will face a real challenge to stop movement of potentially infested material at the township borders.

The general quarantine restricts movement of any material or object that can spread the pest. This includes firewood or wood products, brush or yard waste, remodeling or construction materials and waste, packing material like boxes, grapevines for decorative purposes or as nursery stock, and any outdoor household articles like lawnmowers, grills, tarps and other equipment, trucks or vehicles typically not stored indoors.

Businesses in the general quarantine area need to obtain a Certificate of Limited Permit from the department in order to move articles. Criminal and civil penalties of up to $20,000 and prison time can be imposed for violations by businesses or individuals.

The Spotted Lanternfly, which has no known impacts to human health, is an inch-long black, red and white spotted pest and is native to China, India, Japan and Vietnam. It’s an invasive species in Korea, where it has attacked 25 plant species which also grow in Pennsylvania.

Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula, attacks grapes, apples, pines and stone fruits. It often attaches to the bark of Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) – sometimes referred to as Paradise Tree – an invasive species similar to Sumac that can be found around parking lots or along tree lines. Adults often cluster in groups and lay egg masses containing 30-50 eggs that adhere to flat surfaces including tree bark. Freshly laid egg masses have a grey waxy mud-like coating, while hatched eggs appear as brownish seed-like deposits in four to seven columns about an inch long. Trees attacked by the Spotted Lanternfly will show a grey or black trail of sap down the trunk.

New to the United States, the invasive insect was first found in Berks County last fall. The department is investigating the quarantined and surrounding areas to assess the spread and impact of the pest. October and November, when the insects are in their adult stage, is the easiest time to scan for and find the pest in a new area. Residents in and around the quarantine areas are encouraged to inspect their properties for spotted lanternfly. Additional townships may be added to the quarantine, but with the identification of each infestation, we come one step closer to controlling spotted lanternfly and the damage it might cause our economy and our environment.

All Pennsylvanians are encouraged to watch for the Spotted Lanternfly and offered the following suggestions:

In months when adults are active, do a quick inspection of your vehicle any time you move in or near a quarantine area, to find any spotted lanternfly hitchhikers.

If you see eggs on trees or other smooth outdoor surfaces: Scrape them off, double bag them and throw them in the garbage, or place the eggs in alcohol or hand sanitizer to kill them.

If you collect a specimen: First, place the sample in alcohol or hand sanitizer in a leak proof container. Submit the specimen to your county Penn State Extension office or to the department’s Entomology Lab for verification. Don’t move live specimens around, even within the quarantined area. There are many places under quarantine that do not yet have active populations of spotted lanternfly – you do not want to help them establish a new home base.

If you take a photo: Submit photo of adults or egg masses to badbug@pa.gov.

If you report a site: Call the Invasive Species report line at 1-866-253-7189 with details of the sighting and your contact information.

While Pennsylvanians can submit suspect spotted lanternfly to the department headquarters in Harrisburg or to its six regional office locations, county Penn State Extension offices are often a closer, faster option.

For more information about the Spotted Lanternfly, including a map of the entire quarantine area, visit www.agriculture.pa.gov and search “lanternfly.”


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