Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Spotted Lanternfly Update

Photo by Greg Hoover

This is the time of year when adult emergence of Spotted Lanternfly will be visible within the 13 county quarantine area. A high level of vigilance is required by everyone that works and/or travels into and out of the quarantine zone.

As many of you are aware, the spotted lanternfly (SLF) is a new invasive insect that was first discovered in the US in Berks County in 2014. It has since spread throughout 13 counties in southeastern PA, which the PA Department of Agriculture (PDA) has designated as a SLF quarantine zone.

Because this is the first population of the SLF outside Asia, it’s difficult to assess the magnitude of the threat that SLF presents, but it is potentially the worst introduced insect pest since the gypsy moth nearly 150 years ago. From what we know, the SLF is a significant threat to PA agriculture, including grapes and tree-fruit (where heavy damage has already been recorded), landscape nurseries, and the hardwood industries, which collectively are worth nearly $18 billion to the state's economy. In addition, this insect threatens outdoor recreation, backyard enjoyment, and biodiversity.

It is everyone’s responsibility to use “best practices” when entering and/or leaving the quarantine zone. This is no different than using biosecurity practices for human or animal diseases. Failure to follow best practices could result in the pest being moved into new habitat leading to additional economic impacts to the state of Pennsylvania.  We all must take the quarantine seriously.

Please review the below resources provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and Penn State Extension:

Before moving between quarantined sites or leaving the quarantine zone:

  • Check yourself before getting into the vehicle to make sure no Spotted Lanternfly nymphs or adults have attached themselves to you
  • Check any piece of equipment or item that you will be transporting that has been outdoors in the quarantine area.
  • Do not park under trees.
  • Keep your windows rolled up at all times.
  • Before moving between sites within the quarantine area or leaving the quarantine zone, walk around your vehicle and check closely for any adults and/or nymphs; particularly check in the windshield wiper area, bumpers and around the wheel wells. In fall and winter, also look for egg masses.
  • A quick check of the engine compartment would be beneficial.
  • If you have time and opportunity, a quick high pressure car wash would be ideal before leaving the quarantine area.

Learn to recognize the Spotted Lanternfly in all of it’s life stages and avoid accidental movement of the pest out of the quarantine zone. Thank you for helping with biosecurity of the Spotted Lanternfly.

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