Citizens encouraged to check for egg masses this fall
Harrisburg, PA - The discovery of the Spotted Lanternfly in 25 additional municipalities across southeastern Pennsylvania is cause for vigilance, but not alarm, said Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding, who emphasized the importance of citizen engagement in the ongoing effort to contain and eradicate this invasive species.
“Many of these latest discoveries are the result of citizens reporting their findings,” said Secretary Redding. “It they had simply ignored what they found, that would have allowed the pest to spread, potentially reaching more areas and creating an even larger problem. If we’re going to be successful in eradicating this pest, it’s going to take a collaborative effort. It’s going to take us all working together and sharing information.”
The newly quarantined municipalities, by county, are as follows:
- Berks County: Centre, Maiden Creek, Richmond, Robeson, Ruscombmanor and Union townships, and the boroughs of Birdsboro, Centreport and Fleetwood.
- Bucks County: Richland Township and Richlandtown and Quakertown boroughs.
- Chester County: East Vincent, East Coventry and North Coventry townships and Spring City Borough.
- Lehigh County: Bethlehem City.
- Montgomery County: Upper Providence, Upper Pottsgrove, Upper Salford, Limerick and Lower Frederick townships, and the boroughs of Pottstown and Royersford.
- Northampton County: Bethlehem City.
The Spotted Lanternfly is an inch-long black, red and white spotted pest and is native to China, India, Japan and Vietnam. It is an invasive species in Korea, where it has attacked 25 plant species that 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.
In the fall, adults lay egg masses on nearly any flat surface, which can include outdoor furniture, equipment, stone and block, as well as the outsides and undersides of vehicles.
“In this season when many sportsmen are enjoying Penn’s Woods, treestands, tarps, ATVs and other equipment can make an inviting location for Spotted Lanternfly females to lay their egg masses,” added Redding. “Make sure that you aren’t packing a pest when you enter, and look before you leave the woods, too. These precautions, like burning firewood where you buy or harvest it, are important no matter the invasive species: Spotted Lanternfly, Emerald Ash Borer, Asian Longhorned Beetle, Walnut Twig Beetle, or others that threaten our ecosystems. Help us to keep these hitchhikers at bay.”
Each egg mass contains 35-50 young Spotted Lanternflies. 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.
Redding stressed that residents inside the quarantine zone should simply destroy any specimens they find. There is no need to report the insect.
If you live outside the quarantined zone and find 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. Do not move live specimens. There are many places in the quarantine area that do not have active populations of Spotted Lanternfly, so do not help them to establish a new home base. Be sure to look before you leave.
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, as well as trucks and vehicles not typically stored indoors.
The quarantine now covers:
- Berks County: Alsace, Amity, Centre, Colebrookdale, Douglass, District, Douglass, Earl, Exeter, Hereford, Longswamp, Maiden Creek Maxatawny, Oley, Pike, Richmond, Robeson, Rockland, Ruscombmanor, Union and Washington townships, and the boroughs of Bally, Bechtelsville, Birdsboro, Boyertown, Centreport, Fleetwood, Kutztown, Lyons, St. Lawrence and Topton.
- Bucks County: Milford and Richland townships and Richlandtown, Quakertown and Trumbauersville boroughs.
- Chester County: East Vincent, East Coventry, North Coventry and South Coventry townships and Spring City Borough.
- Lehigh County: Upper Saucon, Lower Macungie, Upper Macungie, Upper Milford, Lower Milford, Whitehall, and South Whitehall townships; the boroughs of Alburtis, Emmaus and Macungie; and the cities of Allentown and Bethlehem.
- Montgomery County: Douglass, Marlborough, New Hanover, Upper Hanover, Upper Providence, Upper Pottsgrove, Upper Salford, Upper Frederick, Limerick, Lower Frederick, Lower Pottsgrove and West Pottsgrove townships, and the boroughs of East Greenville, Pennsburg, Pottstown, Red Hill and Royersford.
- Northampton County: Bethlehem City.
Residents can help with this eradication effort. Visit www.agriculture.pa.gov to access the “Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Checklist” or contact a local municipality or extension office. The checklist provides guidelines for inspecting vehicles and other items stored outdoors each time they are moved out of the quarantine area.
Businesses in the general quarantine area may need to obtain a Phytosanitary Certificate from the department in order to move articles. Local Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture inspectors can work with businesses to ensure that they are complying with quarantine restrictions.
Photos of adults or egg masses found outside of the quarantined areas can be submitted to email@example.com. To report a site, call the Invasive Species Report Line at 1-866-253-7189 and provide details of the sighting and your contact information.
Suspect specimens can be submitted directly to the department’s headquarters in Harrisburg or to any of its six regional offices. Specimens also can be submitted to county Penn State Extension offices.
For more information about the Spotted Lanternfly, visit www.agriculture.pa.gov and look under “Hot Topics” for Spotted Lanternfly.
MEDIA CONTACT: Will Nichols - 717-787-5085
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