Pa. Ag. Department begins spraying to kill spotted lanternflies

Pennsylvania

This Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, photo shows a spotted lanternfly at a vineyard in Kutztown, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has begun spraying congested transportation areas with an insecticide that kills spotted lanternflies.

Spotted lanternflies have begun to hatch around the area, and they hitch onto vehicles to spread. By spraying these high-traffic areas, the Department of Agriculture hopes to help stop the spread of the invasive species.

The insecticide that is being used has been thoroughly researched and found to be safe for use in the areas they are spraying. Pennsylvanians on the hyper-sensitivity registry will be notified prior to spraying in their areas. One of the ingredients Bifenthrin is known to be toxic to fish, so the department will not be spraying anywhere near water areas. They will also avoid spraying flowers to protect pollinators.

“Spotted Lanternflies threaten our quality of life outdoors and destroy valuable products that feed our economy,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “We are working diligently and strategically to control this pest in ways that are safe for the people, pollinators, plants and animals that share the environment it threatens.”

There are currently 34 Pa. counties quarantined to help control the spread of the spotted lanternflies. Every county in the Midstate, except for Adams County, is included in the quarantine list. Franklin County is the only Midstate county that was added to the list in 2021.

Since 2015, the department has received more than $34 million to combat Spotted Lanternfly in Pennsylvania, including $20 million in federal funds and another $14 million in state investment. The department also awarded more than $260,000 in January for four priority research projects.

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