Hamburg Borough Mayor George Holmes issued a proclamation on Sept. 12 against the Spotted Lanternfly. Holmes designated Sept. 22 as Squish a Spotted Lanternfly Day.

“While admittedly this is a light-hearted approach to the spread of this invasive pest, Spotted Lanternflies present a significant threat to Pennsylvania agriculture, landscapes and natural ecosystems,” said Holmes in a release to media. “By making our citizens aware of the potential threat and educating them about control measures, together we can lessen their effect within the quarantined area.”

According to the proclamation, this planthopper invasive species, indigenous to China, India and Vietnam, first made its presence known in Berks County on Sept. 22, 2014 and has since extended to 14 counties in Pennsylvania. The Spotted Lanterfly spread to the Hamburg area in significant numbers in 2018.

“On the 5th anniversary of Spotted Lanternfly’s introduction, the citizens of Hamburg have noticed the insect population has grown to nuisance levels,” states the proclamation. “From July to December, the Spotted Lanternfly reaches its adult stage, and after feeding on the sap of host trees and plants, lays its eggs. The female Spotted Lanternfly can lay between 60 to 100 eggs per year between September and December.”

On Squish a Spotted Lanternfly Day on Sept. 22, Holmes urges in the proclamation that Hamburg area residents “use mechanical means, such as a fly swatter, broom, shoe or the equivalent to eliminate the invasive species in and around their homes and businesses.”

Holmes also wanted to make Hamburg residents aware of the spread of another invasive species, the Tree of Heaven. He urges residents to remove the Tree of Heaven from their property.

“It is prolific in our area, and citizens should also be aware of how to identify this species and eliminate it as the favored host of the Spotted Lanternfly,” he said.

Holmes advises residents to seek more information on the Spotted Lanternfly, its life cycle and pest management at the Penn State Cooperative Extension website, https://extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly.

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Lisa Mitchell is an editor for Berks-Mont Newspapers, covering news and events in the Northeast Berks County area.

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