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Another Berks County Township Added to Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Zone

Posted: September 15, 2015

Harrisburg, Pa. — Berks County has another township under quarantine due to the Spotted Lanternfly. The invasive insect, which was new to the United States last fall, continues to impact the county.
Photo: PA Department of Agriculture

Photo: PA Department of Agriculture

The latest township to be added to the quarantine zone is Longswamp Township, which also includes the borough of Topton. Colebrookdale, District, Earl, Hereford, Pike, Rockland and Washington townships and the boroughs of Bally and Bechtelsville were already under quarantine.

“While we have seen the spotted lanternfly recently move into Colebrookdale and now Longswamp Townships, these were not unexpected given the proximity of the townships to the core zone. Both finds were found on the border of townships already in the quarantine zone,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “As we continue to survey the area, there is always the possibility that we may see that the pest has spread beyond the initial quarantine zone. But this is why we survey. This way we know where it is and where to focus our efforts to eliminate the invasive pest.” Anecdotally, surveyors have seen the numbers decrease in the original quarantine zone.

The general quarantine restricts movement of any material or object that can spread the pest. This includes firewood or wood products, brush or yard waste, remodeling or construction materials and waste, packing material like boxes, grapevines for decorative purposes or as nursery stock, and any outdoor household articles like lawnmowers, grills, tarps and any other equipment, trucks or vehicles not stored indoors.

Businesses in the general quarantine area need to obtain a Certificate of Limited Permit from the department in order to move articles. Criminal and civil penalties can be imposed for violations by businesses or individuals.

The Spotted Lanternfly, which has no known impacts to human health, is an inch-long black, red and white spotted pest and is native to China, India, Japan and Vietnam. It’s an invasive species in Korea, where it has attacked 25 plant species which also grow in Pennsylvania.

Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula, attacks grapes, apples, pines and stone fruits. It often attaches to the bark of Tree of Heaven — sometimes referred to as Paradise Tree — an invasive species similar to Sumac that can be found around parking lots or along tree lines. Adults often cluster in groups and lay egg masses containing 30-50 eggs that adhere to flat surfaces including tree bark. Freshly laid egg masses have a grey waxy mudlike coating, while hatched eggs appear as brownish seedlike deposits in four to seven columns about an inch long. Trees attacked by the Spotted Lanternfly will show a grey or black trail of sap down the trunk.

The department continues its investigation of both the quarantined and neighboring areas to assess the pest’s spread and impact. As an added precaution, surveillance crews began monitoring Lehigh and Montgomery counties in July to ensure that the Spotted Lanternfly had not spread beyond Berks County.

All Pennsylvanians are encouraged to watch for the Spotted Lanternfly and offered the following suggestions:

  • If you see eggs: Scrape them off the tree or smooth surface, double bag them and throw them in the garbage, or place the eggs in alcohol or hand sanitizer to kill them.
  • If you collect a specimen: Turn the adult specimen or egg mass in to the department’s Entomology Lab for verification. First, place the sample in alcohol or hand sanitizer in a leak proof container.
  • If you take a photo: Submit photo of adults or egg masses to badbug@pa.gov.
  • If you report a site: Call the Invasive Species report line at 1-866-253-7189 with details of the sighting and your contact information.

Suspect insects or egg masses can be submitted to the department’s Harrisburg office or to any of the six regional locations. Samples can also be submitted to Penn State Extension offices, which are often a closer, quicker option.

Learn more about the Spotted Lanternfly through photos and video, a webinar discussing the pest, the full quarantine order, a sample submission form and updates by visiting the PA Department of Agriculture spotted lanternfly site.

Contact Information

Emelie Swackhamer
  • Extension Educator, Green Industry
Email:
Phone: 610-489-4315