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A Summer 2019 Update on the Spotted Lanternfly

August 07, 2019 12:00 AM
By: Dominique Lockett

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Over the past five years, life has changed dramatically for millions of Pennsylvanians. Think: egg masses on house siding, thousands of tiny black bugs climbing and hopping across patios and decks, adult Spotted Lanternflies covering every inch of tree trunks, and hitching rides on vehicles. Over the winter months it can be easy to forget the havoc these bugs wreak in warmer weather, but now it’s summer and the Spotted Lanternfly is back in (destructive) action.

Since the Spotted Lanternfly landed here in PA, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) – in partnership with local, state, and federal agencies – has been hard at work containing and controlling this pest. So far, more than $20 million has been used toward the containment of SLF in the commonwealth. In a historic partnership, PDA, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences have joined forces to fight this bad bug. 

So, what has PDA been up to recently? 

The department has taken on the role of control and treatment and hired more than 20 field staff to:
  • Place sticky bands in more than 10,000 locations 
  • Issue nearly one million permits to more than 17,000 companies 
  • Survey for Spotted Lanternfly in all 67 counties (33,000 documented points) 
  • Establish a 14-county quarantine zone
  • Kill more than 71,000 Tree of Heaven
  • Establish hundreds of trap trees (Tree of Heaven that are left alive and treated with insecticide to kill SLF feeding on the trees)
We’ve made significant progress, but we can’t win this battle without you. So, how can you help as a Pennsylvania home or business owner? 

Homeowners can assist in suppression of populations by banding trees on their property, killing any SLF they see, either on their own or by hiring a certified tree care company, and reporting sightings.

While we’re already aware that SLF is inside the quarantine, continued reporting inside the zone helps to identify hot spots and high-risk areas to be treated. If you are located outside of the quarantine zone, your report will allow us to identify areas where Spotted Lanternfly may have hitched a ride and, if we catch it early enough, we can avoid quarantining another area of the state through early treatment and eradication. Spotted Lanternfly sightings reported outside the quarantine zone will be followed up with by a PDA team member to gather more information.
Any business owners who are located in or do business in the SLF quarantine zone are required to get an SLF permit if they move goods or equipment. The SLF permit will signify that the permittee has knowledge of the SLF and knows how to identify SLF life stages. To receive a permit, owners, supervisors, or a designated employee will take the training and then train their employees.

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