Emergency Funding Approved for Spotted Lanternfly
USDA announced $17.5 million in emergency funding has been allocated to stop the spread of the spotted lanternfly (SLF) in southeastern Pennsylvania. The pest has since been found in New Jersey and New York.
The spotted lanternfly, with its distinctive and colorful wings, was first identified in Pennsylvania in 2014. The affected area expanded from 174 square miles in fiscal year (FY) 2016 to approximately 3,000 square miles by the end of FY 2017.
This emergency funding, which was made available through existing Commodity Credit Corporation balances, will allow for a two-pronged approach with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) managing the outer perimeter of the infestation and Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture focusing on a three-mile perimeter surrounding the core infested area. The goal of this expanded surveillance and control program is to stop the leading edge of the infestation and start pushing it inward, while at the same time reducing the density of spotted lanternfly populations in the core-infested area.
“This pest is a threat to apples, grapes, peaches, stone fruits and various tree species throughout Pennsylvania,” U.S. Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson said. “These funds will go a long way in helping the Commonwealth treat, gather data and perform the coordination needed to contain the spread of this devastating threat.”
In addition to emergency activities in Pennsylvania, APHIS is planning to use existing resources to conduct surveys, and control measures if necessary, in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia, where there is growing concern about the potential spread of SLF.
USDA and PDA’s cooperative efforts will help protect Pennsylvania’s agricultural and forested lands from the damaging effects of the spotted lanternfly, which feeds on more than 70 types of plants and secretes a sticky residue on leaves that can lead to the growth of sooty mold fungus affecting overall plant health. For more information on the spotted lanternfly, please visit our Hungry Pests website.