BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — The invasive species, spotted lanternfly, has spread to 45 counties in Pennsylvania since it was discovered in Berks County in 2014.

“The damage that spotted lanternfly inflicts is that it feeds on plants using piercing, sucking mouth parts,” said Molly Sturniolo, master gardener coordinator for Penn State Extension in Centre County. “They require nutrients from the plant sap.” 

This could hurt Pennsylvania’s production of hardwood, apples, peaches, grapes, wine, and beer. Penn State Extension estimates the damage caused by spotted lanternfly could drain Pennsylvania’s economy of $324 million annually.

The insect feeds on over 70 different plant species but is specifically attracted to grapevines, maple trees, black walnut, birch, and willow.

Spotted lanternfly are in their ‘action stage’ from April through July. During that time, they’re a fourth of an inch, and black with white dots. By August, they’re half an inch, and red with white dots.

When spotted lanternflies are adults, they are one inch with white wings, black dots, and a red underlay.

“They lay eggs from September to November,” said Sturniolo. “Each egg mass contains 30 to 50 spotted lanternfly eggs.”

The eggs are laid in rows on any flat surface and are covered in a cracked brown, gray paste.

“These can be scraped by using a credit card,” said Sturniolo. “Off into a container of isopropyl alcohol or something that will destroy those eggs.” 

In Central Pennsylvania, counties under quarantine include Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Cameron, Centre, and Huntingdon.

“Everyone should check their vehicles, belongings, and any outdoor equipment for all stages of life,” said Sturniolo.

If you find a spotted lanternfly on your property, you can report it here or call Penn State Extension’s hotline 1-888-422-3359.

You can trap spotted lanternfly with a circle trap or a sticky band trap. They can also be sprayed with vinegar.