HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding Wednesday announced that eight counties have been added to Pennsylvania’s Spotted Lanternfly quarantine zone ahead of the 2021 spring hatch. With this addition, the quarantine for this invasive pest is now at 34 counties.
“The Spotted Lanternfly is more than a pest in the literal sense,” said Redding. “It’s wreaking havoc for home and business owners, kids who just want to play outside, Pennsylvania agriculture and the economy of the state we all call home. Whether you think it’s your job or not, we need every Pennsylvanian to keep their eyes peeled for signs of this bad bug – to scrape every egg mass, squash every bug, and report every sighting. We need to unite in our hatred for this pest for our common love: Pennsylvania.”
The new eight counties are not completely infested, but rather have a few municipalities with a known infestation. Cambria, Cameron, Franklin, Lackawanna, Montour, Pike, Wayne, and Westmoreland are new to the quarantine for 2021.
“When we expand the quarantine, our goal is to slow the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly,” said Dr. Ruth Welliver, director of the department’s Bureau of Plant Industry. “And we have slowed it. Last spring we quarantined 12 counties with isolated infestations, and those counties have not been overrun because of the heightened awareness a quarantine brings. With continued aggressive treatment and monitoring, and an actively engaged community, we can help ensure families and businesses in these new counties aren’t inconvenienced by widespread infestation.”
Quick, aggressive treatment to newly identified populations of Spotted Lanternfly in Pennsylvania has been funded through the Rapid Response Disaster Readiness line of Governor Wolf’s Pennsylvania Farm Bill for the past two years. The 2021-22 PA Farm Bill proposes another $3 million to combat Spotted Lanternfly.
New to Pennsylvania’s fight against the Spotted Lanternfly this Spring is Lucky, a female German Shepherd, trained as a puppy at PennVet’s Working Dog Center to detect Spotted Lanternfly eggs, often in places humans can’t access. Lucky joined the department in November 2020 and helps to inspect businesses like nurseries, greenhouses, vehicle fleets, and log yards. She is the first dog in the nation trained to detect Spotted Lanternfly.
Businesses that operate in or travel through quarantined counties are required to obtain a Spotted Lanternfly permit. Homeowners with questions about treatment are encouraged to contact their local Penn State Extension office or learn about management, including approved sprays, online. Pennsylvanians who live inside the quarantine zone should also review and sign the Compliance Checklist for residents.
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Since 2015, the department has received more than $34 million to combat Spotted Lanternfly in Pennsylvania — $20 million in federal funds and another $14 million in state investment. The department also awarded more than $260,000 in January for four priority research projects.
For more information on Spotted Lanternfly, visit agriculture.pa.gov/spottedlanternfly. For more about Governor Tom Wolf’s PA Farm Bill and its investments in a sustainable agriculture industry visit agriculture.pa.gov/pafarmbill.