Spotted Lanternfly: A new invasive pest detected in Pennsylvania

By: Mike Saunders

Well, it seems as if the invasive species from Asia are continuing to show up in Pennsylvania. Over the past 15 years or so, we have been colonized by hemlock wooly adelgid, Asian long horned beetle, emerald ash borer, multicolored Asian ladybird beetles, soybean aphid, brown marmorated stink bug, and Japanese knotweed. The latest addition to this list is the spotted lanternfly.

The spotted lanternfly (SLF), Lycorma delicatula, (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae) is native to China, India, Japan, and Vietnam has been detected for the first time in the United States in northeastern Berks County, Pennsylvania. The SLF was unintentionally introduced into Korea in 2006 where it is a pest. This approximately one inch long insect with piercing-sucking mouthparts has the potential to impact the green industry, grape growers, tree fruit growers, and the forests and wood products industries in Pennsylvania as well as the United States. The host plants of the SLF in its native habitat include grapes, pines, stone fruits, and Malus spp. to name just a few. Early detection of the SLF is critical for effective control and protection of Pennsylvania’s agriculture and its related businesses. To date, delimiting surveys conducted by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) indicate that the infested area may be approximately 30 km2 in five townships and two municipalities in northeastern Berks County.

The PDA has issued a general order of quarantine for the following townships and municipalities in Berks County – District, Hereford, Pike, Rockland, and Washington Townships and the municipalities of Bally and Bechtelsville. For additional information and questions regarding the quarantine, please contact Dana Rhodes, Plant Inspection Program Specialist at (717) 772-5205 or at her email, which is danrhodes@pa.gov.

The following is a link to the PDA’s information on the SLF: www.pda.state.pa.us/spottedlanternfly. You may find a link to a pdf copy of the SLF Order of Quarantine, a PowerPoint on Lycorma Inspection Tips, and the SLF Pest Alert at this website.

Entomologists in the PDA, entomology extension specialists in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Entomology, Penn State extension educators, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources entomologists, and USDA scientists will be collaborating to obtain answers to the many unknowns regarding this insect pest that is new to the United States.

What to do if you:

  • See eggs: Scrape them off the tree or smooth surface and place the eggs in a tightly sealed container with 70% alcohol or hand sanitizer to kill them.
  • Collect a specimen: Send the adult/nymph specimen or egg mass to the PDA Entomology Lab for verification. The mailing address for the lab is: PDA, Entomology Room-111, 2301 N. Cameron St., Harrisburg, PA 17110. First, place the sample collected in 70% rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer in a leak proof container. Complete the PDA Entomology Program Sample Submission Form. This sample form can be found in the PDA SLF website www.pda.state.pa.us/spottedlanternfly.
  • Report a site: Call the Bad Bug hotline at 1-866-253-7189 with details of the sighting and your contact information.

For more information or to report a possible sighting of the Spotted Lanternfly:
• Contact your local Penn State Extension office
• Email badbug@pa.gov

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