Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said the spotted lanternfly is the worst bug in the commonwealth and is capable of causing real damage to Pennsylvania’s $132.5 billion agriculture industry.
“Over the past seven years, we’ve seen lanternfly travel from east to west in the commonwealth,” Redding said. “We’ve seen vineyards devastated. It’s invasive environmentally, socially and economically.”
According to a 2019 study, the spotted lanternfly could cost Pennsylvania up to $324 million annually and 2,800 jobs. However, Redding said there is good news, noting there are 12.8 million people in Pennsylvania who can work together to slow the spread of the species.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, the spotted lanternfly came to Pennsylvania in 2014 and has spread to 34 counties.
Researchers at Penn State are currently collecting data on how to contain and manage lanternflies around areas like parks, vineyards and fruit farms.
“Spotted lanternfly is a complex pest, but we are making discoveries and sharing those findings as soon as we can with the public and government and industry stakeholders,” Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences Rick Roush said. “Our research objectives regarding the spotted lanternfly are clear — to find sustainable long-term solutions that are effective and environmentally safe.”
Roush said it is going to take a “village” of scientists, government officials, businesses and citizens to make a difference in the spotted lanternfly fight.
LIST OF COUNTIES WITH SPOTTED LANTERNFLIES
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