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PLNA e-News: Plants, Pests & Diseases

Spotted Lanternfly Found in Six Additional Municipalities

Tuesday, September 20, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: PDA Press Release
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spotted lantern flyHARRISBURG – Over the past month 14 municipalities in currently-infested counties have been added to Pennsylvania’s Spotted Lanternfly quarantine after small populations of the invasive species were found in those areas.

Affected are Alsace and Exeter townships and Lyons and St. Lawrence boroughs in Berks County; Allentown Borough, Whitehall, South Whitehall, Upper Saucon, Lower Milford and Upper Macungie Township in Lehigh County; and Lower Pottsgrove, West Pottsgrove, Upper Frederick, and Malborough Township in Montgomery County.

 

The Spotted Lanternfly is an inch-long black, red and white spotted pest and is native to China, India, Japan and Vietnam. It is an invasive species in Korea, where it has attacked 25 plant species that also grow in Pennsylvania. The pest had not been found in the United States prior to its initial detection in Berks County in the fall of 2014.

 

“With every season we learn more about Spotted Lanternfly, how they live, and how we can best eliminate them,” Redding said. “These general quarantines help us to better isolate Spotted Lanternfly to the communities in these four infested counties and stand a better chance of eradicating it from North America.”

 

"We haven't found evidence of a major infestation of Spotted Lanternfly in Allentown, but because we've found it there, we need citizens to help us identify pockets where it may exist.  More importantly, we need everyone to ensure that they aren't accidentally transporting the insect," said Redding, who noted the other newly added municipalities are largely contiguous to previously quarantined townships.  "Spotted Lanternflies are rather weak fliers, so the easiest way to spread them is by moving them ourselves," Redding added. "This means that whenever you drive somewhere or transport items, we're asking you to look before you leave.  Comprehensively check your vehicle and cargo to make sure you aren't packing this pest."

 

Since this season’s survey work began on May 1, eight crews and 34 volunteers have continued to band trees, scrape egg masses, and otherwise combat Spotted Lanternfly. Eradication efforts have banded more than 9,580 Ailanthus trees, killed more than 454,000 spotted lanternflies, and removed more than 618,000 eggs – more than 1.1 million Spotted Lanternfly.

 

Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula, attacks grapes, apples, pines and stone fruits. It often attaches to the bark of Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima), 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.

 

Much of the success on fifteen highly-infested properties has come from the use of trap trees, where crews have cut all but a handful of Ailanthus. The remaining Ailanthus are treated with a systemic insecticide, so that when adults feed on the tree, they are killed.

 

“With multiple years of this treatment, in combination with quarantine and volunteer efforts to band trees and scrape egg masses, we stand a great chance of wiping this pest out,” added Redding. “Our recent detections have found only isolated pockets of Spotted Lanternfly, not large populations. It’s heartening news that shows our success so far. With the help of residents, we can continue to limit their spread, and focus our efforts further on destroying Spotted Lanternfly in the core area.”

 

The general quarantine of these infested areas 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.

 

The quarantine includes:

  • Berks County: Alsace, Amity, Colebrookdale, Douglass, District, Douglass, Earl, Exeter, Hereford, Longswamp, Maxatawny, Oley, Pike, Rockland and Washington townships, and the boroughs of Bally, Bechtelsville, Boyertown, Kutztown, Lyons, St. Lawrence and Topton.
  • Bucks County: Milford Township and Trumbauersville Borough.
  • Chester County: South Coventry Township.
  • Lehigh County:  Upper Saucon, Lower Macungie, Upper Macungie, Upper Milford, Whitehall, and South Whitehall townships, and the boroughs of Allentown, Alburtis, Emmaus and Macungie.
  • Montgomery County: Douglass, Malborough, New Hanover, Upper Hanover, Upper Frederick, Lower Pottsgrove and West Pottsgrove townships, and the boroughs of East Greenville, Pennsburg and Red Hill.

Residents can help with this eradication effort. Visit the PDA website to access the “Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Checklist” or contact a local municipality or extension office. The checklist provides guidelines for inspecting vehicles and other items stored outdoors, each time they are moved out of the quarantine area. Businesses in the general quarantine area need to obtain a Certificate of Limited Permit from the department in order to move articles. Local Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture inspection staff can work with businesses to ensure that they are complying with quarantine restrictions.

 

Redding encourages all Pennsylvanians to watch for the Spotted Lanternfly and offered the following suggestions:

  • During the months of July through December, when the adults are active, conduct 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 from an area that is outside the quarantined zone: First, place the sample in alcohol or hand sanitizer in a leak proof container. Then, 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 – don’t help them establish a new home base. If you find a Spotted Lanternfly within the quarantined area, there is no need to submit the specimen, just destroy it.
  • If you take a photo: Submit photo of adults or egg masses to badbug@pa.gov.
  • If you want to report a site: Call the Invasive Species report line at 1-866-253-7189 and provide any details of the sighting and your contact information.

Suspect specimens can also be submitted directly to the department’s headquarters in Harrisburg or to any of its six regional offices. Specimens can also be submitted to county Penn State Extension offices as well. For more information about the Spotted Lanternfly, visit www.agriculture.pa.gov and search “lanternfly.”


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