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 grapes, stone fruit, and trees. To try to limit the spread of SLF, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) has established a quarantine order in municipalities where SLF already exists. All residents and businesses must comply with the regulations. The PDA has the authority to fine anyone who willfully violates the quarantine order.
Tips to Help You Avoid Spreading SLF
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 into 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 which are not yet included in the quarantine. If you believe you have discovered SLF in any area outside of the current quarantined area, report your discovery to the PDA by sending a picture to email@example.com or calling 1-866-253-7189. The most recent quarantine map for Spotted Lanternfly can always be found in the publications list on the PDA website.
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 May until October.
Right: The older nymphs are black and red with white spots and can be present from June until October.
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: An adult showing the red underwings when disturbed. (photo credit: Nancy Bosold)
Left: The egg masses can be on trees, rocks, or any other solid object and can be present from September through May.
Right: The empty remains of the eggs that have hatched can be found at any time of the year.
You should 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.
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. Remove SLF manually or use a pressure washer. You can destroy mobile stages of SLF mechanically by crushing them. Destroy eggs by smashing them or scraping them into a container of rubbing alcohol.
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 a tag for your vehicles to show that you have the SLF permit from the PDA. Contact your regional PDA office for more information.
Use the checklist for residents if you need to move items.
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 from PA Department of Agriculture.
If you sell plants, you should have them inspected by the PDA and 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 and if they are found to be free of pests, you will receive phytosanitary certification as proof of this inspection.
If you sell and/or produce mulch you must use specific practices to ensure it does not harbor SLF.
The specific practices are outlined in this Mulch fact sheet.
You should note that the SLF regulations do not apply to grass clippings or autumn leaf collection. We believe that the SLF does not lay eggs on these light weight 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 spotted lanternfly quarantine order are in place to prevent the SLF 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 SLF 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.
Additional information can be found on the Penn State Extension website.
Prepared by: Emelie Swackhamer, Horticulture Extension Educator, Montgomery County, May 2018.