Spotted Lanternfly reaches 15 counties in Pennsylvania

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(WTAJ/WHTM) — The Spotted Lanternfly is now in 15 counties in Pennsylvania, with Dauphin County being the most recent. Officials are now trying to get a sense of what they can do to stop the spread.

“Pennsylvania is sort of ground zero for the Spotted Lanternfly in the United States,” said Russell Redding: State Agriculture Secretary.

The invasive Spotted Lanternfly is native to Southeast Asia, but was first found in Pennsylvania in 2014, and has since spread.

“They’re also in Delaware and New Jersey now. We’re trying to figure out what we can do to stop this pest from spreading,” said Governor Tom Wolf.

Which is why on Tuesday, Governor Tom Wolf, and State Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding paid a visit to the area of Dauphin County now populated by the insect.

The insect can wreak havoc on the state’s agriculture products.

“It’s a significant nuisance problem. It’s disrupting these people’s way of life. And then we’re also seeing grape growers, tree fruit growers, and our environment being degraded as well,” said Heather Leach: PSU College of
Agricultural Sciences.

As part of the recently signed PA Farm Bill, The state’s rapid response disaster readiness account will provide three million dollars toward the containment of the spotted lanternfly.

“It is invasive in many ways. It’s invasive environmentally. It’s invasive economically. It’s invasive socially, and how do we control and how do we respond as a state to that is really important,” said Redding.

The USDA recently dedicated more than six million dollars toward Pennsylvania’s efforts to battle the Spotted Lanternfly.

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