Department of Agriculture officials Wednesday announced the spotted lanternfly quarantine has been expanded after small populations of the pest were detected in Amity and Douglass Townships, both in Berks County.
The two recent detections are in townships adjacent to previous quarantine areas. The pest had not been found in the United States prior to its initial detection in Berks County last fall.
“While these additional findings are not what anyone wanted to hear, they show that the surveillance efforts are working,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “These detections are a result of an ongoing delimiting survey effort undertaken by local, state, and community members who have partnered to find the pest in the early stages, minimizing the chance of the invasive completely establishing itself in a new area. New detections allow the control program to target its outreach and control efforts, working to end the spread of the insect.”
Areas where the pest has been found are now under quarantine. The general quarantine 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, trucks or vehicles typically not stored indoors.
Residents should obtain a “Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Checklist” from the department website or from their local municipality or extension office, and follow the guidelines for inspection of vehicles and other items they store outdoors, each time they move them out of the quarantine area.
Businesses in the general quarantine area need to obtain a Certificate of Limited Permit from the department in order to move articles. Local Department of Agriculture inspection staff can work with businesses to ensure they are complying with quarantine restrictions. Criminal and civil penalties of up to $20,000 and prison time can be imposed for violations by businesses or individuals.
The quarantine includes the following areas:
-- Berks County: Amity, Colebrookdale, District, Douglass, Earl, Hereford, Longswamp, Oley, Pike, Rockland and Washington townships and the boroughs of Bally, Bechtelsville, Boyertown and Topton.
-- Bucks County: Milford Township and Trumbauersville Borough.
-- Chester County: South Coventry Township.
-- Montgomery County: Douglass and Upper Hanover townships and the boroughs of East Greenville, Pennsburg and Red Hill.
The Spotted Lanternfly is an inch-long black, red and white spotted pest and is native to China, India, Japan and Vietnam. It’s an invasive species in Korea, where it has attacked 25 plant species which also grow in Pennsylvania.
Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula, attacks grapes, apples, pines and stone fruits. It often attaches to the bark of Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima), an invasive species similar to Sumac that can be found around parking lots or along tree lines.
Adults often cluster in groups and lay egg masses containing 30-50 eggs that adhere to flat surfaces including tree bark. Freshly laid egg masses have a grey waxy mud-like coating, while hatched eggs appear as brownish seed-like deposits in four to seven columns about an inch long.
Trees attacked by the Spotted Lanternfly will show a grey or black trail of sap down the trunk.
All Pennsylvanians are encouraged to watch for the Spotted Lanternfly and offered the following suggestions:
— In months when adults are active, do a quick inspection of your vehicle any time you move in or near a quarantine area, to find any spotted lanternfly hitchhikers.
— 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.
— If you collect a specimen: First, place the sample in alcohol or hand sanitizer in a leak proof container. Submit the specimen to your county Penn State Extension office or to the department’s Entomology Lab for verification. Don’t move live specimens around, even within the quarantined area. There are many places under quarantine that do not yet have active populations of spotted lanternfly – you do not want to help them establish a new home base.
— If you take a photo: Submit photo of adults or egg masses to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
— If you want to report a site: Call the Invasive Species report line at 1-866-253-7189 with details of the sighting and your contact information.For more information, visit Agriculture’s Spotted Lanternfly webpage.
While Pennsylvanians can submit suspect spotted lanternfly to the department headquarters in Harrisburg or to its six regional office locations, county Penn State Extension offices are often a closer, faster option.