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Spotted Lanternfly program coming to Muncy Library

By Staff | Feb 13, 2019

MUNCY – The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) has put out an alert for the Spotted Lanternfly.

It is an invasive species that hops on plants and recently has been discovered in Berks and surrounding counties. According to Penn State University and Extension, it is a native to China, Bangladesh, Vietnam and introduced to Japan and Korea where it is a major pest to their grape crop.

It can have a major impact to agricultural crops and hardwoods. Early detection is vital and a program to help detect this environmental hazard will be given at the Muncy Public Library on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 3 p.m. by Irene Harrison, a Master Gardener with Penn State Co-op Extension in Lycoming County.

Early detection is vital for the protection of Pennsylvania businesses and agriculture. Penn State University is leading the research about the insect’s biology and its ability to adapt to the environment in Pennsylvania. It is known to reduce the quality of life for people living in heavily infested areas. Penn State has joined forces with USDA and PDA to control its spread. It can be recognized by its white spots.

They are treating areas where the population numbers of the lanternfly are high and targeting high risk pathways which may contribute to moving the insect to other locations. All counties in the state will be surveyed.

Harrison’s presentation will discuss ways to control the lanternfly and management techniques being utilized. Businesses also play an important role and business owners should incorporate pest management into their vegetation management plans. It is important to minimize the possibility of this insect hitching a ride on products they produce and ship. “This insect is easily moved if no one is looking.”

Businesses who ship products within and out of the quarantine zone are required to have or hire companies who have a Spotted Lanternfly Permit according to the Penn State Co-op Extension.

There are recommendations and guidelines to follow outdoors in the quarantined area and reports are registered in a database for the USDA as well as treatment plans which are based on location, risk and available funds.

Harrison will discuss guidelines for permit training, the stages of development, and early detection. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is encouraging businesses to obtain the required Spotted Lanternfly permit before spring to ensure they are complying with the Spotted Lanternfly quarantine orders. There is no cost to obtain the permit.

In November 2017, 13 Pennsylvania counties – Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, and Schuylkill – were placed under quarantine to help stop the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly.

As part of the Spotted Lanternfly quarantine agreement beginning May 1, 2019, the Department’s Bureau of Plant Industry will begin to perform inspections and verification checks to confirm that businesses are properly permitted. Failure to take the permit exam and educate employees could result in possible penalties and fines.