We were warned about the spread of Spotted Lanternfly, an invasive insect that has been creeping it’s way across Pennsylvania since 2014. In previous years, Berks County has been the hardest hit, but now the Spotted Lanternfly has made it’s way into Bucks, Montgomery and Chester Counties, and even into Philadelphia. This bug has been swarming trees, leaking messy, sticky honeydew, which turns into black, sooty mold. It has been attracting nasty, stinging wasps to backyards and causing a general mess wherever they are found. Area homeowners are frustrated after chasing these hopping insects all summer long, and many are asking what is Pennsylvania doing about Spotted Lanternfly? The experts at Giroud Tree and Lawn have been talking to the researchers at the head of the fight against Spotted Lanternfly, and we have the answer to that question!
What is Pennsylvania Doing About Spotted Lanternfly?
There are three main players in the fight against Spotted Lanternfly here in Pennsylvania: the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences. Working together, they have been spreading the word about the dangers of this insect to our ecosystem and to homeowners.
Penn State has been researching this insect since it first appeared in the US back in 2014. The hard work done by Emeilie Swackhamer, Penn State Horticulture Director, and her team has been instrumental in understanding how the Spotted Lanternfly is causing damage and how to combat it. She explains in an informational YouTube video that while it’s still too early to say what the long-term effects will be, the insects are definitely causing significant die-back and defoliating branches in trees.
The PDA has been working hard to control the insect within the state. They have outlined their efforts on their website as follows:
“The (PDA) has taken on the role of control and treatment and hired more than 20 field staff to:
- Place sticky bands in more than 10,000 locations
- Issue nearly one million permits to more than 17,000 companies
- Survey for Spotted Lanternfly in all 67 counties (33,000 documented points)
- Establish a 14-county quarantine zone
- Kill more than 71,000 Tree of Heaven
- Establish hundreds of trap trees (Tree of Heaven that are left alive and treated with insecticide to kill SLF feeding on the trees)”
The USDA has also been attempting to figure out how to control the insect, even going so far as to import predator wasps from China to test the idea of introducing another invasive insect in order to control this one. However, these trials can take time and they need to research every possible outcome before taking such a measure.
Fred Strathmeyer, Deputy Secretary for Plant Industry and Consumer Protection for PDA, explains the possible negative ramifications in a recent article on PhillyMag.com. “Unleashing (a predator insect), or napalm, or any of the other drastic measures folks have suggested would also devastate the environment, and harm pets and humans and other crops.”
How You Can Help Combat the Spotted Lanternfly Invasion
If you want to keep these creepy critters from spreading, there’s alot you can do to help the fight!
-Start by checking out Giroud’s extensive post, Everything You Need to Know About Spotted Lanternfly. This comprehensive article explains everything about Spotted Lanternfly, from where they came from, why you need to be worried about them, how to identify the insects in each of their life cycles, and how to get rid of Spotted Lanternfly.
-Watch Giroud’s Video, How to Remove & Destroy Spotted Lanternfly Egg Masses, which is key to getting ahead of the next generation. This method is all natural and the only things you need are a card for scraping and rubbing alcohol! Together, we can fight back these insects while they lie dormant all winter long.