Costello, Maloney receive spotted lanternfly update from Department of Agriculture

Congressman Ryan Costello meets with Pennsylvania state Rep. David Maloney, USDA Deputy Administrator for APHIS Plan Protection and Quarantine Osama A El-Lissy, and USDA Under Secretary Greg Ibach for a spotted lanternfly update.
Congressman Ryan Costello meets with Pennsylvania state Rep. David Maloney, USDA Deputy Administrator for APHIS Plan Protection and Quarantine Osama A El-Lissy, and USDA Under Secretary Greg Ibach for a spotted lanternfly update. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Federal and state officials came together last week for an update on a grant program to help Berks County combat the spread of the spotted lanternfly, a pest that is native to Southeastern Asia and first appeared in the United States in Berks County.

Congressman Ryan Costello, R-6th Dist., and state Rep. David Maloney, R-130th Dist., heard from Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Greg Ibach, who leads the Office of Marketing and Regulatory Programs.

The office oversees the $17.5 million that Rep. Costello helped secure to combat the spotted lanternfly in the residential areas, wooded areas, and commercial agriculture areas. All three communities need specific approaches to combat the fly, and Costello and Maloney were briefed on the approach taken by the USDA. The department’s initial steps are to suppress the fly and stop the spread of the fly until it can be eliminated entirely.

“Pennsylvanians have shared how their farms and homes have been impacted by the spotted lanternfly. The ongoing partnership between federal and state officials is critical to stopping the spread of this pest in the Commonwealth, and I thank State Rep. Maloney and the USDA for their work and attention on this issue,” said Costello, who represents parts of Berks, Chester, Lebanon and Montgomery counties.

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Each of those counties is currently under quarantine for the spotted lanternfly.

“Knowing how important eliminating this pest is to our community, I was pleased to join Rep. Costello for a progress update from the USDA and thank federal officials for their commitment to resolve this threat in Southeastern Pennsylvania. The continued focus on the core and the perimeter will be a key part of successful treatment,” Maloney said. “I also brought attention to the growing concerns related to Chronic Wasting Disease, another new challenge we are facing in Pennsylvania.”

Maloney has been working to address the Spotted Lanternfly since it was discovered in Pennsylvania, and has urged state and federal officials to take an aggressive approach. Information provided during the meeting was the first evidence that this aggressive approach was showing signs of progress, according to Maloney.

Both Costello and Maloney have previously urged officials to take action to control the pest.

If Pennsylvanians notice the spotted lanternfly in their neighborhood, they should contact the Automated Invasive Species Report Line at 1-888-4BAD-FLY (1-888-422-3359).