A quarantine zone to control the spread of an invasive pest that threatens fruit trees, hardwoods, grapevines, and hops has been expanded to include Dauphin County.
The state Department of Agriculture announced the extension Friday, saying it came after reports of a spotted lanternfly population in the county.
The quarantine restricts the movement of products that contain any life stages of the insect, including egg masses, nymphs, and adults. People spread the insect by moving infested material or items containing egg masses.
Businesses operating in the quarantine zone must have permits to move equipment and goods in and out of the zone. Pennsylvania will perform inspections and verification checks to confirm that businesses are properly permitted beginning May 1.
The quarantine zone also includes Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, and Schuylkill counties.
The inch-long black, red and white spotted insect, native to Southeast Asia, was first spotted in Pennsylvania in 2014.
Homeowners can get tips and information about products available to combat spotted lanternfly, such as sprays, through Penn State Extension at http://extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly.
If you live outside of the quarantine zone and believe you may have seen a spotted lanternfly, you can call 1-888-4-badfly.
“Whether you are a contractor, farmer, truck driver or business or rail owner, the Spotted Lanternfly can pose a risk to your business and threaten your bottom line,” added Redding. “It is incumbent on Pennsylvania’s business community to obtain a permit so that we can demonstrate our due diligence to trading partners and restrict the movement of this invasive pests to other areas of the commonwealth and other states.”
As part of the Spotted Lanternfly quarantine agreement beginning May 1, 2019, The Department’s Bureau of Plant Industry will begin to perform inspections and verification checks to confirm that businesses are properly permitted. Failure to take the permit exam and educate employees could result in possible penalties and fines.
The quarantine zone was last expanded in November 2017 to include Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, and Schuylkill counties.
As part of the PA Farm Bill to protect agriculture infrastructure, the Pennsylvania Rapid Response Disaster Readiness Account will provide $5 million in funding to allow for a quick response to agricultural disasters, which includes $3 million to utilize animal or plant health officials to contain an outbreak or threat, such as SLF. Additionally, USDA recently dedicated more than $7.5 million in new funding to Pennsylvania’s efforts.
This funding builds on work over the past year to eradicate the pest. PDA has taken responsibility for suppressing Spotted Lanternfly populations in the core infestation area, while USDA has established a perimeter extending 18 miles out from the core area, where they are working to eliminate any infestation. Between the two agencies, the entire Spotted Lanternfly quarantine area is being covered. Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences has taken the lead on public outreach through its Cooperative Extension service. Additionally, the Wolf Administration has been training employees and issuing permits to state vehicles that travel through the quarantine zone.
Redding added that despite the new funding and the work being done through PDA’s partnership with Penn State and USDA, it is imperative that Pennsylvania homeowners assist control efforts by obtaining the materials needed to spray and suppress SLF on their own properties.
“I encourage all Pennsylvania businesses to learn how they can do their part to get permitted, and for communities and homeowners to join us in this fight,” said Sec. Redding. “This invasive insect is prone to human-assisted movement, so residents need to stay vigilant, check their vehicles, and survey their surroundings. By contacting your local Penn State Extension staff, you can receive tips and information about the latest products available to combat Spotted Lanternfly, such as sprays, sticky bands, and other approved control methods.”
All Pennsylvania business owners, managers, or supervisors are encouraged to register for the free business permit webinar to be held on Thursday, March 21 from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM. To register for the webinar, visit www.Spottedlanternfly.eventbrite.com.
Homeowners with questions about treatment, including approved sprays, can learn more through Penn State Extension at http://extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly.
For more information about the Spotted Lanternfly, visit www.agriculture.pa.gov/spottedlanternfly.