Dealing with invasive spotted lanternflies in Pa.

Local News

FILE – This Sept. 19, 2019, file photo, shows a spotted lanternfly at a vineyard in Kutztown, Pa. State agriculture officials have added 12 counties to the quarantine list, raising the total number of counties under quarantine to 26. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

The spotted lanternfly is an invasive species threatening crops throughout Pennsylvania.

Today, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Dean Rick Roush, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Administrator Carlos Martinez gave an update on spotted lanternflies in Pennsylvania.

When a spotted lanternfly feeds, it excretes a sugary substance called honeydew. Honeydew encourages the growth of black sooty mold which causes damage to plants and attracts stinging insects. The sticky substance is known to coat decks and outdoor furniture, play equipment and vehicles.

“The spotted lanternfly is the worst bug in the commonwealth and capable of causing real damage to Pennsylvania’s $132.5 billion agriculture industry,” said Redding. “Over the past seven years, we’ve seen lanternfly travel from east to west in the commonwealth. We’ve seen vineyards devastated. It’s invasive environmentally, socially and economically.

“But there is good news: Pennsylvania is home to 12.8 million people who are part of the solution. Working together, we can slow the spread. Working together, we can stomp out the threats of this invasive pest,” added Redding.

The spotted lanternfly came to Pennsylvania in 2014 and has since spread to 34 counties across the commonwealth. Those counties are under a quarantine to help contain the lanternflies.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) now has some help managing these pests — the spotted lanternfly-sniffing dog: Lucky.

Lucky is a female German Shepherd who was trained as a puppy at PennVet’s Working Dog Center to detect spotted lanternfly eggs. Lucky joined the department in November 2020 and helps to inspect businesses like nurseries, greenhouses, vehicle fleets, and log yards.

She is the first dog in the nation trained to detect spotted lanternflies.

Spotted lanternfly sightings can be reported by calling 1-888-4BAD-FLY or using the online reporting tool. Businesses that operate in or travel through the quarantined counties are required to obtain a free spotted lanternfly permit.

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

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