New Invasive Pest Found In Pennsylvania

New Invasive Pest Found In Pennsylvania

Photo credit: Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Photo credit: Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

An invasive insect new to the U.S. that has the potential to damage grape, tree fruit and hardwood industries has been discovered in Berks County, PA, prompting the immediate quarantine of Pike and District townships.

The Spotted Lanternfly, an inch-long black, red and white spotted pest, is native to China, India, Japan and Vietnam. It’s an invasive species in Korea, where it has attacked 25 plant species which also grow in Pennsylvania.

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“Since this is new to the country we are taking every precaution possible,” said Agriculture Secretary George Greig. “We need to do everything we can to stop the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly. Help us by looking for adult insects and their egg clusters on your trees, cars, outside furniture – any flat surface that the eggs may be attached to.”

The Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula, attacks grapes, apples, pines and stone fruits. It often attaches to the bark of Tree of Heaven – sometimes referred to as Paradise Tree – an invasive species similar to Sumac that can be found around parking lots or along tree lines.

Adults often cluster in groups and lay egg masses containing 30-50 eggs that adhere to flat surfaces including tree bark. Freshly laid egg masses have a grey waxy mud-like coating, while hatched eggs appear as brownish seed-like deposits in four to seven columns about an inch long. Trees attacked by the Spotted Lanternfly will show a grey or black trail of sap down the trunk.

The department is investigating the quarantined and surrounding areas to assess the spread and impact of the pest. Additional townships may be added to the quarantine.

“Berks County is the front line in the war against Spotted Lanternfly,” said Greig. “We are taking every measure possible to learn more, educate the public and ourselves and eliminate this threat to agriculture.

For more information, including photos and video of the Spotted Lanternfly, the full quarantine order, a sample submission form and updates in the fight, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s post on the Spotted Lanternfly.

Source: Pennsylvania State news release