Right now, the fight against the invasive spotted lanternfly involves trying to keep them from reproducing.
The fight includes searching for egg masses, scraping them from the item they are attached to, killing the eggs and killing any adults, according to experts at the recent meeting about the bug at the Bally Fire Company. The other critical element to fighting the pest is containing it to the quarantine area by inspecting all items for evidence of spotted lantern fly, eggs or adults, prior to moving it from the restricted area.
The spotted lanternfly was first discovered in Berks County in 2014. It is an economic threat because it can destroy vineyards, fruit trees and forest products and associated businesses. Sven Spichiger, of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, said three vineyards in the quarantine area were negatively impacted this year. “Right now the spotted lanternfly is laying eggs and they lay them anywhere and hides them,” he said. Each egg mass contains 30 to 50 eggs.
“This time of the year they are attracted to anything with sweet sap such as maples and walnut trees,” Spichiger said.
“The eradication program relies on cooperation,” he said.
In addition to removing egg masses and killing adults, the key is removing the Tree of Heaven, the pest’s preferred host. On an infected property, 90 percent of the TOH will be removed with balance of the trees serving as trap trees. The trap trees will then be treated with an insecticide which will in turn kill any spotted lantern fly that feeds on it. Spichiger noted one problem is the TOH is difficult to kill with the stump continuously producing new shoots.
However, while the TOH is the pest’s preferred tree, it utilizes over 24 species, all of which are found in Pennsylvania’s forests, according to Dr. Greg Setliff, professor of entomology at Kutztown University.
Setliff encouraged everyone to report the spotted lanternfly if they find it outside the quarantine area, learn about the pest’s lifecycle, try to kill it in all stages and don’t move material that could be harboring any stage of the pest.
Quarantine areas include: Berks County: Amity Township, Oley Township, Rockland Township, Longswamp Township, Earl Township, Pike Township, District Township, Douglass Township, Colebrookdale Township, Washington Township, Hereford Township, Maxatawny Township, Alsace Township, Exeter Township, Topton Borough, Bally Borough, Kutztown Borough, St. Lawrence Borough, Betchelsville Borough and Boyertown Borough.
Montgomery County: Douglass, Upper Hanover, New Hanover, West Pottsgrove, Lower Pottsgrove, Marlborough, and Upper Frederick Townships, Green Lane, East Greenville, Pennsburg, Red Hill Boroughs.
Bucks County: Milford Township, Trumbauersville Borough.
Chester County: South Coventry Township.
Lehigh County: Lower Macungie Township, Upper Macungie Township, Upper Milford, Lower Milford, Upper Saucon, Whitehall and South Whitehall Townships, Alburtis borough, Macungie borough, Coopersburg Borough and Allentown City
Anyone finding the spotted lanternfly on their property is encouraged to contact the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-866-253-7189.
For more information about the pest and the eradication program can be found at <http://www.pa.gov/Protect/PlantIndustry/spotted_lanternfly>.