Pest alert: Help prevent the spread of the spotted lanternfly

Date: September 10, 2018

With Penn State Football season underway, there are heightened Photo courtesy of Penn State Extensionconcerns about visitors from eastern Pennsylvania bringing the spotted lanternfly with them. The lanternfly will hitch a ride on RVs and on vehicle tires. 

Reportedly, a spotted lanternfly was observed at a Penn State football tailgate, although that report remains unofficial.

Since 2017, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) has quarantined more than 3,000 square miles in eastern Pennsylvania to keep a pest called the spotted lanternfly from reaching the rest of the state and beyond. 

Pennsylvania is the only state where this plant hopping pest from Asia has invaded since it was identified in Berks County in 2014. To date, the quarantine is in effect in 13 counties, including all of Berks, Bucks, Chester, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Carbon, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Monroe, Philadelphia, and Schuylkill counties. The quarantine has grown from 174 square miles in 2016. 

The PDA has spent $17.5 million in funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to try to slow it down.

A threat to grape growers, orchards, and nursery operators, the spotted lanternfly feeds on all kinds of trees – especially oaks and sycamores, and can also damage ornamental plants in home landscapes and affect the quality of life for all residents. 

Officials are asking residents to report sightings of the spotted lanternfly and to check for them before traveling in and out of the quarantined area. 

The spotted lanternfly lays its eggs on any flat surface. Should you see them on your bike, motorcycle, RV, camper, motor home, tires, tents, tarps,  ice chest or any other surface, scrape them off. Below, see checklist for travelers.

Helpful Resources

Penn State Extension