Apr 12, 2017
Volunteers trained to combat invasive spotted lanternfly

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, in conjunction with Penn State Extension and Berks County Conservation District, is hosting a series of public meetings to train volunteers to assist in eradicating the invasive spotted lanternfly.

This destructive insect pest poses a significant threat to the state’s $16.1 billion hardwoods industry, as well as grape and tree fruit industries, which collectively add more than $170.2 million annually to Pennsylvania’s economy, and support thousands of jobs.

At meetings in Berks, Bucks, Lehigh and Montgomery counties, PSU Extension educators will train residents to recognize and to help eliminate these invasive insects. With warm weather approaching, the department is seeking volunteers to place sticky bands on Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) trees to kill adult insects that live on the trees. Volunteers will be trained and equipped with tree-banding supplies at the meetings.

“Spotted Lanternfly has the potential to devastate Pennsylvania’s grape harvests and damage hops, nursery plants, fruit trees and hardwoods,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “Our staff and partners are working hard to eradicate the insects and limit their spread, but volunteers can magnify those efforts significantly.”

The Spotted Lanternfly is an inch-long black, red and white spotted pest native to China, India, Japan, and Vietnam. It is an invasive species in Korea, where it has attacked 25 plant species that also grow in Pennsylvania. The first U.S. detection of the pest was in Berks County in late 2014, shortly before the department began to coordinate efforts to eradicate it.

Parts of six Pennsylvania counties where egg masses have been found — Berks, Bucks, Chester, Lehigh, Montgomery and Northampton — are under quarantine. The quarantine restricts movement of materials or objects that can spread the pest by transporting egg masses.

Once egg masses hatch in mid-May, insects hop or crawl from one woody plant to another until reaching the Tree of Heaven, their preferred food source. Grapevines, fruit trees, nursery plants and hardwoods in infested areas are susceptible to damage.

The schedule of meetings is provided below. Register online with PSU Extension at http://extension.psu.edu/pests/spotted-lanternfly/events or by calling 610-489-4315.

For more information about the Spotted Lanternfly, visit www.agriculture.pa.gov and look under “Hot Topics” for Spotted Lanternfly.

Scheduled Spotted Lanternfly public meetings, by county:

Berks County

  • April 15, noon – 2 p.m. – Center at Spring Street, 200 West Spring Street, Boyertown
  • April 26, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. – Brandywine Heights Middle School, 200 W. Weis St., Topton
  • April 27, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. – Ruscombmanor Township Office, 204 Oak Lane, Fleetwood

Bucks County

  • April 29, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. – Milford Township Office, 2100 Krammes Road, Quakertown

Lehigh County

  • April 22, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. – Lehigh County Ag Center, 4184 Dorney Park Road, Allentown

Montgomery County

  • April 12, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m., Montgomery County 4-H Center, 1015 Bridge Road, Collegeville
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