MAKING LIFE BETTER: Spotted lanternfly quarantine and business permits

PHOTO PROVIDED Invasive insect, spotted lanternfly, are pictured at top as adults. An early nymph stage, bottom left, and late nymph stage, bottom right, are also seen. If anyone finds a Spotted lanternfly outside of a quarentine zone they are asked to contact the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

In 2014, the spotted lanternfly, an invasive insect native to parts of Asia, was discovered in Berks County, Pennsylvania. This planthopper feeds on the sap of a variety of plants and has the potential to cause significant damage to many valuable commodities in Pennsylvania including forest products, grapes, tree fruit, and landscape industries.

Eggs begin to hatch in late April or early May. The emerging nymphs are black with white spots with the last nymphal stage having some red coloration.

Adults emerge in July and are approximately an inch long with pale gray forewings with black spots. The hind wings, which are displayed when they are flying or threatened, are red.

In the fall, spotted lanternfly females lay eggs on trees and many other outdoor items. The eggs are covered with a waxy secretion that helps them overwinter.

To stop the spread, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) issued a quarantine for counties where the presence of spotted lanternfly has been confirmed. Currently, this includes 14 counties in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Residents that live in or travel into the quarantine should inspect vehicles, trailers, or any outdoor items before moving them out of the quarantine. If you find a spotted lanternfly that is outside of the quarantine, try to collect it or take a good picture and report it immediately to the PDA.

Businesses that operate in the quarantine zone must have permits to move equipment and goods within and out of the quarantine.

On May 1, business permits will be enforced and failure to comply will result in fines. If your business operates in the quarantine zone, a free permit training course is available online (https://extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly-permit-training).

There will also be free in-person trainings across the state on April 25 from 9 to 11 a.m.

For details on the in-person trainings or to register, visit https://extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly-permit-training-for-businesses or call 1-877-345-0691. For more information on spotted lanternfly, visit www.extension.psu.edu or contact your local extension office.

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Laurie Welch is a nutrition and family issues educator with Penn State Cooperative Extension, 570-726-0022.

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