Can swarms of little bugs, like the Asia-native spotted lanternfly, have the potential to impact hundreds of acres of forests, grapes and fruit trees?
Right now, the spotted lanternfly has been cause for concern among Pennsylvanians, as the invasive species can carve a destructive path through wildlife flora.
The insects are not yet fully grown; they are in the nymph stage, and they will likely stay there until late June, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
Currently, Lancaster County is one of the counties quarantined by the Department of Agriculture for the infestation of lanternflies. Other counties involved are Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lebanon, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia and Schuylkill.
Invasive spotted lanternfly in Lancaster County Central Park: What to look for
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding held a news conference on Wednesday, May 8, 2019, in Lancaster County Central Park about the invasive insect, the spotted lanternfly and the tree that attracts them. The demonstration included how to identify and control the insects.
The state created a quarantine zone of several counties, including Lancaster County, and began a permitting and inspection process within that quarantine zone to reduce the movement and spread of the spotted lanternfly last year.
- If you find 1-inch-long masses of 30 to 50 eggs on a tree (they are laid in the fall and may be covered in a gray putty), scrape off with a putty knife into a bag or container and fill with isopropyl alcohol or hand sanitizer.
- In spring, in trees where nymphs are seen, place a band of sticky tape around trunks. Duct tape wrapped backwards works well. Check and change traps every other week.
- Remove any tree of heaven, also called Ailanthus, from your property as they are lanternflies’ preferred host tree.
- A number of systemic and contact insecticides work to kill adult lanternflies. Only use on trees where lanternflies are present as these products may kill beneficial insects.
- Report any spotted lanternfly by calling 1-888-422-3359.
- For more information, click here or call the lanternfly hotline at 1-888-422-3369.