Department of Agriculture officials Thursday announced the Spotted Lanternfly quarantine has been expanded to Lower Macungie Township, Alburtis and Macungie Boroughs in Lehigh County and New Hanover Township in Montgomery County after small populations of the pest were found.
The most recent detections are in municipalities adjacent to previously quarantined areas.
The pest had not been found in the United States prior to its initial detection in Berks County in the fall of 2014.
“While no one wants to hear that there are additional findings, this affirms that our surveillance efforts are working,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “It is extremely difficult to eradicate these pests but thanks to the ongoing survey efforts and commitment by local, state, and community members, who have been working together continuously to find the pest in the early stages, we are minimizing the impact of the species. 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.
The last detection of the pest was confirmed in November 2015.
In addition to the new areas where the invasive has been found, the quarantine also includes:
-- Berks County: Amity, Colebrookdale, Douglass, District, Douglass, Earl, Hereford, Longswamp, Oley, Pike, Rockland and Washington townships and the boroughs of Bally, Bechtelsville, Boyertown and Topton.
-- Montgomery County: Douglass and Upper Hanover townships and the boroughs of East Greenville, Pennsburg and Red Hill.
-- Bucks County: Milford Township and Trumbauersville Borough.
-- Chester County: South Coventry Township.
Since receiving additional funding from the United States Department of Agriculture, survey work began May 1, 2016 to identify additional challenges and improvements with the invasive species.
Eight crews and 34 volunteers have placed more than 2,200 bands on Ailanthus trees, removing more than 14,000 eggs. To date, 39 properties have been treated in the quarantine area, removing more than 3,300 Ailanthus trees.
Residents can help with this eradication effort. Download the “Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Checklist” or contact a local municipality or extension office.
The checklist provides guidelines for inspection of vehicles and other items stored 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 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:
-- During the months of July through December, when the adults are active, conduct 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. Then, 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 866-253-7189 and provide any details of the sighting and your contact information.
Suspect specimens can also be submitted directly to the department’s headquarters in Harrisburg or to any of its six regional offices. Specimens can also be submitted to county Penn State Extension offices as well.For more information, visit the Department of Agriculture’s Spotted Lanternfly webpage.