(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has added 11 more counties to the list of counties across the state that are currently under a Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) quarantine.

SLF have been spotted just south of Crawford County in Mercer County.

Mercer County is among the 11 newly added counties to the quarantine list, as are the following:

  • Adams
  • Armstrong
  • Bedford
  • Centre
  • Fulton
  • Indiana
  • Lycoming
  • Snyder
  • Union
  • Washington

There are currently 45 Pa. counties under a Spotted Lanternfly quarantine.

The invasive planthopper was first found in Pennsylvania in Berks County in 2014. SLF feed on the sap of plants, including grapevines, maples, black walnut, birch and willow.

According to the Agriculture Department, a 2019 economic impact study estimated that, uncontrolled, SLF could cost the state $324 million annually and more than 2,800 jobs.

SLF excrete honeydew, a sugary waste that attracts bees, wasps and other insects. That waste builds up on any surface below the SLF. The build-up of waste also leads to the growth of sooty mold and black-colored fungi.

“Spotted lanternflies threaten outdoor businesses and quality of life as well as grapes and other valuable crops Pennsylvania’s economy depends on,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “It’s up to every Pennsylvanian to be on the lookout for these bad bugs. Walk your yard, gardens, or land before spring hatch and scrape egg masses. Kill every bug. Check your vehicles before traveling to ensure you’re not transporting them to a new area for new opportunities to devastate crops and outdoor quality of life.”

Adult lanternflies do not survive the winter months. However, it’s important to find any outdoor egg masses, usually covered in mud- or putty-like protective coating, and destroy them to prevent them from hatching.

The Agriculture Department has a map online, detailing where reports of SLF are located in municipalities.

The quarantine strictly prohibits the movement of any spotted lanternfly living stage including egg masses, nymphs and adults, and regulates the movement of anything that could harbor the insect.

Businesses that operate in or travel through quarantined counties are required to obtain a Spotted Lanternfly permit. The permit is designed to educate business travelers to recognize spotted lanternflies and to know how to keep from giving them a ride to a new area.

To learn how to recognize the insect and its eggs, how to separate common myths from facts, and how to safely control it on your property, visit Penn State Extension’s website, extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly.

For more information on spotted lanternflies, visit agriculture.pa.gov/spottedlanternfly.