Photo: Holly Raguza, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
There is a new invasive insect in southeastern Pennsylvania, Lycorma delicatula, commonly known as the spotted lanternfly (SLF). This insect has the potential to be harmful to grapevines, hops, tree fruit, and trees. To try to limit the spread of SLF, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) has established a quarantine order in counties where SLF already exists. All residents and businesses must comply with the regulations. PDA has the authority to fine anyone who willfully violates the quarantine order.
Here are some tips to help you avoid spreading SLF and be in compliance with the regulations.
1. Learn about which counties are included in the quarantine order.
The area of the quarantine will continue to change as new discoveries are made. As you move within and out of the quarantined area, you must make sure that you are not transporting any living life stages of the SLF to new areas. If you believe you have discovered SLF, report your discovery online or by calling 1-888-4BAD-FLY (1-888-422-3359). The most recent quarantine map can be found on the Penn State Extension Spotted Lanternfly website.
2. Learn about what SLF looks like in every stage of its development throughout the year.
Left: The young nymphs are black with white spots and can be present from April through July. (photo credit: Emily Swackhamer)
Right: The older nymphs are black and red with white spots and can be present from July through September. (photo credit: Emily Swackhamer)
Left: The adults (shown at rest) can be present from July until late December. The adults are 1 to 1 1/4 inches long.
Right: Adults will show their red underwings when disturbed. (photo credit: PA Department of Agriculture)
Left: The egg masses can be on trees, rocks, or any other solid object and can be present from September through June. (photo credit: Emily Swackhamer)
Right: The empty remains of the eggs that have hatched can be found at any time of the year. (photo credit: Emily Swackhamer)
3. Avoid parking or storing things under trees in infested areas.
The female SLF often lays eggs on objects that are under the trees she is feeding on. You should try to change your habits about where you park. Park vehicles in open fields, away from tree lines, or in a closed garage if possible. You should not store things that you might need to move to outside of the quarantined area under infested trees. These things include firewood, tools, construction supplies, equipment, or any other solid object.
4. Inspect all items that you need to move from within the quarantined area to areas outside the quarantined area.
You should remove and destroy any SLF that you find before you move the item. Also check all vehicles, trailers, campers and equipment including around windshield wipers, grills, wheel wells, and truck beds. Inspect plant material, woody debris, lawn furniture, construction supplies, tools, and all solid objects. Destroy mobile stages of SLF by crushing them. Destroy eggs by smashing them or scraping them into a container of rubbing alcohol.
5. All businesses should get a permit issued through the PDA.
A permit provides evidence that you have completed training about how to follow the rules of the quarantine order and you agree to do all you can to ensure that the items you transport are not carrying SLF. You will receive documentation for your vehicles to show that you have the SLF permit from the PDA. To obtain a permit, take the Spotted Lanternfly Permit Training for Businesses course. This is a “train the trainer” course to train designated employees (usually an owner, manager, or supervisor) within a company on how to comply with the quarantine regulations. The designated employee must then train fellow employees. In-person training and questions may be directed to SLFPermit@PA.gov.
6. Use the checklist for residents if you need to move items that are not included in a permit through a business.
This checklist is a legal document to show that you have inspected the item, removed and destroyed any living life stages of SLF and you are in compliance. You can print the checklist, fill it out, sign it and take it with you when you move the item(s). The checklist is available for download.
7. If you sell plants, have them inspected by the PDA to receive a phytosanitary certificate.
Pennsylvania law requires horticultural businesses that produce and/or sell plants to have either a Nursery/Greenhouse License or a Nursery Dealer's License. When you have a license plant inspectors will check your plants. For more information, see the PDA phytosanitary certification page.
8. If you sell and/or produce mulch you must use specific practices to ensure it does not harbor SLF.
The specific practices are outlined at the Penn State Extension Spotted Lanternfly website under Spotted Lanternfly Management. You will need to enter into a compliance agreement with PDA.
These regulations do not apply to grass clippings or autumn leaf collection. We believe that the spotted lanternfly does not lay eggs on these lightweight objects. Clippings and leaves may be moved from the quarantine area if necessary, as long as the truck and/or trailer you are hauling them with has been checked.
The regulations of the quarantine order are in place to prevent the spotted lanternfly from being spread by people. This pest is not just a concern to agricultural and horticultural professionals, it is a community concern. To protect the agriculture industry, we need everyone to be aware of the best practices to avoid spreading the spotted lanternfly and use these practices in their daily activities.
You can see the official quarantine order, a summary in plain language and find more information on the PA Department of Agriculture website.
If you do not have access to the Internet, contact the Penn State Extension office in your county to receive copies of the checklist for residents or to access the online permit training.
Prepared by: Emelie Swackhamer, Horticulture Extension Educator