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Secretary of Agriculture: Every Spotted Lanternfly Egg Mass Not Destroyed is 50 More Next Spring, ‘That’s Scary’

10/28/2021

Harrisburg, PA – Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today reminded Pennsylvanians of the importance of vigilance against the Spotted Lanternfly as the bugs begin laying eggs on flat surfaces to overwinter and hatch in the spring.

"Every Spotted Lanternfly egg mass not scraped and destroyed now is up to 50 more of these invasive, destructive bugs we can expect to hatch next spring," said Redding. "We need every Pennsylvanian to hunt for egg masses this fall and winter and destroy them – or we're in for a scary spring."

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Front yard Halloween décor featuring Spotted Lanternflies by Camp Hill, PA resident Angela Powars (Photo submitted)

Spotted Lanternfly egg masses are a light gray wax-like substance that take on the appearance of mud and encompass an average of 30-50 individual eggs. Egg masses can be found on many flat surfaces including trees, rocks, and outside objects such as picnic tables, playground equipment, grills, and sidings of homes.

Property owners can scrape egg masses whenever encountered using a hard or rigid tool such as a credit card, putty knife, or a stick. Research has not yet confirmed whether egg masses can survive if scraped onto the ground, so it is best to scrape the egg masses in a downward motion into a container or bag with rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer.

"From hunters, to businesses, to even our youngest Pennsylvanians, we can all do our part to stomp out this nuisance bug," added Redding. "If you're a hunter, keep your eyes peeled while you're in the woods this fall. If you're a PA business, get a permit and check out our business toolkit to see how you can be a part of the solution. And if you've got young kids, send them outside of your house for an egg mass treasure hunt. It's up to all of us to stop this pest for the sake of our $132.5 billion agriculture industry and the quality of life for more than 13 million Pennsylvanians."

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Redding scrapes an egg mass with a hunting knife. (Download from PACast)

The Spotted Lanternfly is an inch-long black, red, and white insect native to Southeast Asia and first identified in Pennsylvania in 2014. The invasive insect feeds on agricultural commodities produced in the state such as grapes, tree fruit, and hardwoods.

Pennsylvanians are encouraged to report sightings of the insect through the online reporting tool or by calling 1-888-4BAD-FLY, a hotline managed by our partners at Penn State Extension.

A Spotted Lanternfly Business Toolkit is available to help operations learn about why the spotted lanternfly is bad, how the quarantine works, if they need a permit, and responsibilities of holding a permit.

For more information on Spotted Lanternfly, visit agriculture.pa.gov/spottedlanternfly.

Note: High quality, public domain photos of the Spotted Lanternfly are available for download through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Spotted Lanternfly Flickr album. Designed graphics for social or other media use to raise awareness of the Spotted Lanternfly and new quarantine can be downloaded from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's 2021 Spotted Lanternfly Flickr album.

MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Powers - 717.603.2056; shpowers@pa.gov 

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