Nov 26, 2018State agencies give year-end update on spotted lanternfly
On Nov. 26, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture provided a year-end update on the state’s efforts to control the spread of the spotted lanternfly, and joined the Game Commission and Sen. Judy Schwank, D-Berks, Minority Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, to encourage hunters to take action by scraping spotted lanternfly egg masses while they are out hunting.
“By now we all know what destruction the spotted lanternfly can bring to agricultural commodities, and over the past three years, we have been dedicated to combating the invasive pest,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “We have seen some success, including the suppression of populations within the quarantine zone and enhanced collaboration with partners around the state, but our work is not complete. This coalition cannot do it alone; we need Pennsylvanians to help.”
Throughout the year, PDA has managed treatment within the quarantine areas where the population numbers are high and targeted high-risk pathways that could enable the insect to move to other locations.
Pesticide treatment is finished for the year, but property assessment and tree marking will continue throughout the winter months.
PDA’s statewide survey teams are also responding to reports of possible sightings of spotted lanternfly outside of the quarantine areas.
Hunters are encouraged to scrape egg masses and report any sightings through an online reporting tool provided by our partners at Penn State Extension or by calling the spotted lanternfly hotline 1-888-4BAD-FLY. The hotline will connect callers to Penn State Extension staff who will provide guidance on next steps.
Spotted lanternfly egg masses are laid in late September and will continue until a hard freeze hits, when the adults die off. Adults will lay their eggs on host trees and nearby smooth surfaces like stone, outdoor furniture, vehicles and structures.
Newly laid egg masses have a grey mud-like covering which can take on a dry cracked appearance over time. Old egg masses appear as rows of 30-50 brownish seed-like deposits in four to seven columns on the trunk, roughly an inch long.
“If we are proactively checking and scraping for egg masses now, we can potentially put a dent in the spotted lanternfly population,” said Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans. “It is imperative that Pennsylvania hunters aid the cause, and there is no easier way than to scrape egg masses while you’re already outside. I encourage sportsmen and women to join the effort while they’re out hunting this season.”
“Not only are there a wide array of agricultural commodities affected by the spotted lanternfly, but this invasive insect has greatly impacted the quality of life of Pennsylvania residents, including those in my community,” added Sen. Schwank. “We need to keep working, keep fighting, and stay vigilant when we are out enjoying the outdoors, but we can only succeed with the help and support of Berks County residents.”
This season, 130 reports of spotted lanternfly were received by the statewide survey crew, of which 95 were negative, 30 were positive, and five are still in progress. In the past two weeks, 291 egg masses, which equates to 10,185 spotted lanternfly, have been found and removed by PDA staff.
Photo: Spotted lanternfly egg masses. Photo: Penn State Extension.