Thursday, August 27, 2015

Another Berks County Township Quarantined Following Spotted Lanternfly Discovery

The Department of Agriculture Thursday announced another Berks County township is being quarantined in the fight to stop the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly, an invasive insect new to the United States that was first found in the area last fall.
The additional quarantine covers Colebrookdale Township. District, Earl, Hereford, Pike, Rockland and Washington townships and the boroughs of Bally and Bechtelsville are already under quarantine.
“We are continuing surveillance efforts to track and eradicate this pest,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “Since the Spotted Lanternfly was first detected last fall we have seen numbers decrease in those areas.”
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 any other equipment, trucks or vehicles not stored indoors.
Businesses in the general quarantine area need to obtain a Certificate of Limited Permit from the department in order to move articles. Criminal and civil penalties of up to $20,000 and prison time can be imposed for violations by businesses or individuals.
The Spotted Lanternfly, an inch-long black, red and white spotted pest, 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 – sometimes referred to as Paradise Tree – 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.  
The department is investigating the quarantined and surrounding areas to assess the spread and impact of the pest. Additional townships may be added to the quarantine.
In July, surveillance crews began monitoring Lehigh and Montgomery counties to ensure that the Spotted Lanternfly has not moved beyond the Berks County line. While there is no indication the pest has spread to beyond the quarantined areas, officials believe this is a prudent, precautionary measure.
All Pennsylvanians are encouraged to watch for the Spotted Lanternfly and offered the following suggestions:
— If you see eggs: Scrape them off the tree or smooth surface, 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: Turn the adult specimen or egg mass into the department’s Entomology Lab for verification. First, place the sample in alcohol or hand sanitizer in a leak proof container.
— If you take a photo: Submit photo of adults or egg masses and email to:
— If you report a site: Call the Invasive Species report line at 1-866-253-7189 with details of the sighting and your contact information.   
While Pennsylvanians can submit suspect eggs to the department headquarters in Harrisburg or to its six regional office locations, county Penn State Extension offices are often a closer, quicker option.
Learn more about the Spotted Lanternfly through photos and video, a webinar discussing the pest, the full quarantine order, a sample submission form and updates by visiting Agriculture’s Lanternfly webpage.

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