The spotted lanternfly infestation continues to wreak havoc on Pennsylvania’s multi-million dollar grape, timber, and orchard production industries. Several new municipalities including Boyertown Borough (Berks), Douglass Township (Montgomery), South Coventry Township (Chester), and Milford Township and Trumbauersville Borough (Bucks) have been placed under quarantine for spotted lanternfly infestations. Currently a total of 13 municipalities in Berks County, 3 in Montgomery, 2 in Bucks, and 1 in Chester are under quarantine. This invasive, moth-like insect is native to parts of Asia, and poses a major threat to local agriculture, plant nurseries, and timber industries. It utilizes over 70 species of plants as a host, 25 of which occur in Pennsylvania. The lanternfly lays its eggs on smooth surfaces such as the trunks of several tree species including Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima), stumps, firewood, and a large variety of smooth-surfaced items stored outdoors including vehicles. In May, early stages of the insect begin appearing. In its present stage, this inch-long black fly will feature distinctive brown, red, and black spotted wings.
The lanternfly destroys valuable crops such as grapes, apples, stone fruits, and hardwood trees as it sucks out the plant’s sap to feed. Its feeding causes the trees to ooze sap and it also leaves a distinct “honeydew” residue on the trunk which promotes mold growth and attracts other feeding insects. To control the spread of this insect and its harmful impacts, check trees and smooth surfaces around your property for the lanternfly and its eggs, especially before moving any of these items. Fully grown lanternflies are easiest to spot on host-trees at dusk as they migrate up the tree and egg masses are brown mud-like formations found on trees and smooth surfaces. Any found lanternflies should be reported to one of the agencies found below, especially if found in an area not currently under quarantine.
If you find egg masses, scrape them off, double bag, and dispose of them. Then report the found egg masses here: https://www.paplants.state.pa.us/EntomologySurveyExternal.aspx. Lanternflies should be collected, placed in alcohol or hand-sanitizer in a leak proof-container, and submitted to the local Penn State Extension office http://extension.psu.edu/counties . You can also contact the invasive species hotline, 1-866-253-7189 with details
All Photos: USDA – Pest Alert: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/plant_health/2014/alert_spotted_lanternfly.pdf
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