Spotted Lanternfly: Tips for Handling Yard Waste in Quarantined Areas

To prevent the movement of this insect, avoid moving yard waste such as woody plant debris (fallen trees or branches and tree trimmings) outside the quarantine area.
Spotted Lanternfly: Tips for Handling Yard Waste in Quarantined Areas - Articles


Photo: Holly Raguza, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

The invasive spotted lanternfly has been found in southeastern counties in Pennsylvania. We are trying to eradicate this potential pest. A quarantine order is in place that prohibits the movement of any living life stage of this insect to areas outside the quarantined area. For information about identifying the spotted lanternfly, where it is known to exist, the quarantine order, and compliance, go to the Pennsylvania Department of Ag Spotted Lanternfly website

Learn about the spotted lanternfly and its host plants. Report any capture, photos, or sightings of this insect in areas outside the current quarantine to or 866-253-7189.

Know which municipalities are included in the quarantine order. Additional municipalities will be added if new discoveries occur.

Avoid moving this insect on woody plant debris (e.g., fallen trees or branches and tree trimmings) and any living plants, equipment, building materials, or other objects. Businesses may avoid possible fines by entering into a compliance agreement through the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA). Plant nurseries, nursery stock dealers, and mulch producers should contact their plant inspector for compliance information. Find contact information for regional PDA offices on the PDA website.

Inspect yard waste and other items and destroy egg masses.

Noncommercial residents should use the compliance checklist when moving items from within the quarantined area to outside areas.

Movement of fallen leaves is not regulated under the spot-ted lanternfly quarantine. When working in the quarantined area, if possible chip all woody debris on-site to no larger than 1-inch pieces in each of two dimensions. Even within the quarantined area, moving chips is a better practice than moving larger woody debris.

If you can, leave all chips or woody debris on-site. The next best option is to take chips or debris to an organic materials recycler within the quarantined area.

Follow this composting procedure

To kill viable insects or eggs in chipped material, the composting procedure below must be followed before moving material out of the quarantined area:

  1. Compost piles must be a minimum of 200 cubic yards.
  2. Internal temperature at a depth of 18 inches must reach 140°F (60°C) for four continuous days.
  3. After the interior of the pile is successfully heat treated, the exterior of the pile needs to be rotated to the center. Using a front-end loader or a bulldozer, remove the outer layer of the compost pile to a depth of 3 feet.
  4. Start a second compost pile using the recently removed cover material as a core.
  5. Cover this second compost pile by moving the core material from the first compost pile as a cover at least 3 feet deep.
  6. Allow the second compost pile to remain undisturbed until the temperature reaches 140°F (60°C) for at least four continuous days.
  7. After the chips have been successfully composted according to these directions, the resulting composted material meets compliance requirements.
  8. Mulch being offered for sale and moved out of the quarantined area must be certified by PDA. Contact your regional plant inspector for information.

Prepared by Emelie Swackhamer, horticulture educator.