HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has reported the first confirmed spotted lanternfly hatch of the year.

The lanternfly was found by a USDA employee Monday in the University City area of West Philadelphia, near the University of Pennsylvania.

“Let’s use this time at home to make a positive impact on spotted lanternfly this season; scrape and destroy any remaining egg masses you find and band your trees now,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “We need every Pennsylvanian to keep their eyes peeled for this bad bug, we can’t let our guard down.”

The bulk of spotted lanternfly hatches begin in southern Pennsylvania in mid-to-late April, with a lag in timing for northern counties.

Spotted lanternflies are capable of damaging fruit orchards, hops, walnuts, hardwoods, and decorative trees.

Scraping egg masses is the most efficient way to kill 30-50 of the invasive pests at once. If you discover spotted lanternfly egg masses, scrape them off, using a putty knife, credit card, or any other firm, blunt-edged tool.

Penn State Extension has a tutorial on how to destroy egg masses.