ALTOONA, Pa (WTAJ) — The Spotted Lanternfly is back in Central PA and there have been multiple confirmed reports of them right in Blair County.
The insect-making national news has now been spotted in Central PA prompting the state Department of Agriculture to issue warnings. Plus the creation of the spotted lanternfly compliance and enforcement team which will conduct permit and inspection record checks for businesses in the 34 quarantined counties in the state starting next week to prevent the spread of the invasive species.
Currently, Blair, Cambria and Huntingdon counties are on high alert.
“I have not seen any here at the park yet but they are going to be here soon,” Heidi Mullendore with Canoe Creek State Park said. “They’re devastating to the crops to just about anything that produces fruit especially.”
The insects feed on sap from different plants but have a strong preference for plants important to Pennsylvania’s economy including grapevines, maples, black walnut, birch and willow.
“So they drink so much sap that they also reign a sticky sap substance and that can grow mold and cover the plants it’s really going to harm plants and crops,” said Mullendore.
A 2019 economic impact study estimates that, if uncontrolled, this insect could cost the state $324 million annually and more than 2,800 jobs. This creates a new phrase when talking about the creature.
“If you see it, smash it.” Mullendore said.
Now that 3 counties in our area are a part of the quarantine zone once again, certain businesses and organizations must receive permits to do work here.
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