Officers Asking Public to Assist Management Insect Invader

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Pennsylvania forest and agriculture officials are warning residents of the Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) and asking residents to report sightings of the pest and its egg sacs.

The spotted lanternfly is an invasive species that is native to Asia. It does not bite or sting people or pets, but it does cause serious damage to at least 70 different host plants commonly found in Pennsylvanian yards or gardens.

It damages grapevines, red maples, silver maples, willows, sumacs, trees and other hardwoods as well as agricultural and ornamental plants. The fly feeds, thereby stressing the plants, which leads to decreased health and ultimately death.

The fly also secretes honeydew (a sugary substance), which builds up and encourages the growth of fungi that cover the plant and then fall on patio furniture, cars, or other objects under the foraging area, causing cosmetic damage.

The SLF was found in 34 Pennsylvania counties including Blair, Huntingdon, and Cambria. Penn State University conducted a study showing the SLF infestation could cost the Pennsylvania economy at least $ 324 million a year.

For information on tree traps and insecticides that can kill the fly, visit the Penn State Extension website at https://extension.psu.edu/Spotted-Lanternfly. To report a screening call, call (888) 422-3359.

Learn to recognize the fly

Pa. Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding encourages business travelers to join more than 1.2 million people in more than 26,000 companies in the United States and Canada who have learned to spot spotted lanterns and not move the destructive pest into new homes.

A permit is required for business travel regardless of the type of cargo, as the invasive insect is primarily hitchhiking to new areas.

“Dotted lantern flies don’t check what you’re carrying,” Redding said. “They hop on anything on their way and hitchhike to a new home. It only takes an egg mass or a pregnant female insect to start an infestation. Ask anyone who lives in southeastern Pennsylvania – you don’t want this pest in Your neighborhood, you sure don’t want it to feed on the crops that feed our economy, and you don’t want to be the business that brought it home. “

Eight counties added

The Pa. Ag recently announced the addition of eight counties to the Spotted Lanternfly quarantine zone in Pennsylvania ahead of the 2021 Spring Hatch. In addition to the special requirements for companies that produce or ship agricultural goods, the quarantine requires companies whose employees travel to and from Cambria, Cameron, Franklin, Lackawanna, Montour, Pike, Wayne, Westmoreland and the 26 previously quarantined counties got Spotted Lanternfly permits.

To obtain a permit, you must take a short online course to learn how to identify the insect at each stage of its life cycle and inspect vehicles and contents to prevent the insect from being transported. Every company determines which of its employees should have approval.

A company with a permit can then tailor training specifically to inspect the types of vehicles they use and the cargo they transport.

Photo provided

This is the look of Spotted Lanternfly egg sacs. Forestry and agricultural officials are asking residents of Pa. To watch out for the pests and report them at (888) 422-3359.

“Human travelers pose the greatest risk when it comes to spreading spotted lantern flies,” Redding said. “To protect our quality of life, our businesses like stadiums and restaurants that depend on their customers to enjoy the outdoors, and the tens of thousands of jobs that depend on agriculture, we must all do our part Quarantine Get a permit to learn how to prevent this destructive pest from spreading. “

Districts quarantined in 2020 and 2021 have isolated insect populations as opposed to widespread infestations. In many cases it is clear that the insects hitchhiked there as they do not travel long distances on their own. Transportation corridors such as major highways, railways, trucking centers, and tourist destinations are top priorities in the strategy the department and the USDA have pursued in controlling the spread of the insect.

For more information on Spotted Lanternfly, visit Agriculture.pa.gov/SpottedLanternfly.