HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Eight more counties have been added to Pennsylvania’s Spotted Lanternfly quarantine zone ahead of the 2021 spring hatch bringing the total to 34 counties.
The Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) is an invasive planthopper native to Asia first discovered in PA in Berks County in 2014 according to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
The SLF feeds on sap from a host of plants but prefers plants important to Pennsylvania’s economy including grapevines, maples, black walnut, birch and willow.
“The Spotted Lanternfly is more than a pest in the literal sense,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “It’s wreaking havoc for home and business owners, kids who just want to play outside, Pennsylvania agriculture and the economy of the state we all call home.”
The new eight counties added to the quarantine for 2021 include Cambria, Cameron, Franklin, Lackawanna, Montour, Pike, Wayne, and Westmoreland are not completely infested, but rather have a few municipalities with a known infestation.
“When we expand the quarantine, our goal is to slow the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly,” said Dr. Ruth Welliver, director of the department’s Bureau of Plant Industry. “With continued aggressive treatment and monitoring, and an actively engaged community, we can help ensure families and businesses in these new counties aren’t inconvenienced by widespread infestation.”
New to Pennsylvania’s fight against the Spotted Lanternfly, there is a weapon in Dauphin County to detect the pest, and Pennsylvania is the only one in the nation to have her.
Quick, aggressive treatment to newly identified populations of Spotted Lanternfly in Pennsylvania has been funded through the Rapid Response Disaster Readiness line of Governor Wolf’s Pennsylvania Farm Bill for the past two years. The 2021-22 PA Farm Bill proposes another $3 million to combat Spotted Lanternfly.
“Whether you think it’s your job or not, we need every Pennsylvanian to keep their eyes peeled for signs of this bad bug – to scrape every egg mass, squash every bug, and report every sighting, said Redding. “We need to unite in our hatred for this pest for our common love: Pennsylvania.”