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Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Expanded, State Continues Progress in Combatting Invasive Species

08/05/2016

Maxatawny Township and Kutztown Borough in Berks County, Upper Milford Township and Emmaus Borough in Lehigh County now affected

Harrisburg, PA - Pennsylvania’s Spotted Lanternfly quarantine has been expanded to Maxatawny Township and Kutztown Borough in Berks County and Upper Milford Township and Emmaus Borough in Lehigh County after small populations of the invasive species were found in those areas. These detections are in municipalities adjacent to previously quarantined areas.

The Spotted Lanternfly is an inch-long black, red and white spotted pest and is native to China, India, Japan and Vietnam. It’s an invasive species in Korea, where it has attacked 25 plant species which also grow in Pennsylvania. The pest had not been found in the United States prior to its initial detection in Berks County in the fall of 2014.

“These new quarantines are proof of the power of partnerships – that members of the affected communities are alert to the real threat posed by Spotted Lanternfly to our state, and are vital members of the coalition of federal, state and local partners who are working to eliminate this invasive species from our state,” said Agriculture Secretary C. Russell Redding. “Since Spotted Lanternfly was first detected in 2014 we have acted swiftly to educate the public, identify and study Spotted Lanternfly colonies, and take appropriate measures to eradicate them.”

The general quarantine of these infested areas restricts movement of any material or object that can spread the pest. This includes firewood or wood products, brush or yard waste, remodeling or construction materials and waste, packing material like boxes, grapevines for decorative purposes or as nursery stock, and any outdoor household articles like lawnmowers, grills, tarps and other equipment, trucks or vehicles typically not stored indoors.

“I ask for the patience and cooperation of the citizens in the newly-affected areas. Working together, we can stop the Spotted Lanternfly and safeguard our crops and forests,” he said.

In addition to the new areas where the invasive has been found, the quarantine also includes:

  • Berks County: Amity, Colebrookdale, Douglass, District, Douglass, Earl, Hereford, Longswamp, Oley, Pike, Rockland and Washington townships and the boroughs of Bally, Bechtelsville, Boyertown and Topton.
  • Bucks County: Milford Township and Trumbauersville Borough.
  • Chester County: South Coventry Township.
  • Lehigh County: Lower Macungie Township, and the boroughs of Alburtis and Macungie.
  • Montgomery County: Douglass, New Hanover and Upper Hanover townships and the boroughs of East Greenville, Pennsburg and Red Hill.

Through this season’s survey work that began May 1, 2016, eight crews and 34 volunteers have placed more than 2,200 bands on Ailanthus trees, and removed more than 14,000 eggs.

Residents can help with this eradication effort. Visit the department website to access the “Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Checklist” or contact a local municipality or extension office. The checklist provides guidelines for inspection of vehicles and other items stored outdoors, each time they are moved out of the quarantine area. Businesses in the general quarantine area need to obtain a Certificate of Limited Permit from the department in order to move articles. Local Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture inspection staff can work with businesses to ensure that they are complying with quarantine restrictions. Criminal and civil penalties of up to $20,000 and prison time can be imposed for violations by businesses or individuals.

Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula, attacks grapes, apples, pines and stone fruits. It often attaches to the bark of Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima), an invasive species similar to Sumac that can be found around parking lots or along tree lines. Adults often cluster in groups and lay egg masses containing 30-50 eggs that adhere to flat surfaces including tree bark. Freshly laid egg masses have a grey waxy mud-like coating, while hatched eggs appear as brownish seed-like deposits in four to seven columns about an inch long. Trees attacked by the Spotted Lanternfly will show a grey or black trail of sap down the trunk.

Redding encourages all Pennsylvanians to watch for the Spotted Lanternfly and offered the following suggestions:

  • During the months of July through December, when the adults are active, conduct a quick inspection of your vehicle any time you move in or near a quarantine area, to find any spotted lanternfly hitchhikers.
  • If you see eggs on trees or other smooth outdoor surfaces: Scrape them off, double bag them and throw them in the garbage, or place the eggs in alcohol or hand sanitizer to kill them.
  • If you collect a specimen: First, place the sample in alcohol or hand sanitizer in a leak proof container. Then, submit the specimen to your county Penn State Extension office or to the department’s Entomology Lab for verification. Don’t move live specimens around, even within the quarantined area. There are many places under quarantine that do not yet have active populations of spotted lanternfly – don’t help them establish a new home base.
  • If you take a photo: Submit photo of adults or egg masses to badbug@pa.gov.
  • If you want to report a site: Call the Invasive Species report line at 1-866-253-7189 and provide any details of the sighting and your contact information.

Suspect specimens can also be submitted directly to the department’s headquarters in Harrisburg or to any of its six regional offices. Specimens can also be submitted to county Penn State Extension offices as well. For more information about the Spotted Lanternfly, visit www.agriculture.pa.gov and search “lanternfly.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Logan D. Hall or Will Nichols - 717-787-5085

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