UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A printable checklist developed by Penn State Extension and the state Department of Agriculture can help citizens tick all the boxes when it comes to preventing the spread of the spotted lanternfly, an invasive insect that is threatening the agricultural, timber and ornamental industries.
The Spotted Lanternfly Checklist for Residents, now available on the extension website, contains a list of items that should be inspected before traveling or transporting them. These items include vehicles, recreational or camping items, outdoor furniture, building materials, and yard and garden items.
“The arrival of summer and the lifting of shelter-in-place orders have people traveling across the commonwealth,” said Heather Leach, spotted lanternfly extension associate in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. “With that comes the potential for travelers to unknowingly spread the spotted lanternfly to other regions. We need citizens to be aware of their role in preventing the insect’s spread, and this checklist is a great guideline to help.”
The document also features photos of the planthopper’s life stages and information on potential egg mass locations. “People might be surprised about the places lanternflies will lay eggs, including camping chairs and outdoor lightbulbs,” Leach said.
If found, egg masses should be scraped off using a plastic card or putty knife and placed in a bag or container with rubbing alcohol. They also can be smashed or burned. Nymphs or adult spotted lanternflies can be destroyed using a fly swatter.
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture State Plant Regulatory Official Dana D. Rhodes recommends having the compliance checklist on hand for use when traveling, most notably to and from the 26 counties in the state-imposed spotted lanternfly quarantine: Allegheny, Beaver, Berks, Blair, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Mifflin, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Philadelphia, Schuylkill and York.
“Keeping a checklist in your car is a great reminder to look before you leave to keep from taking spotted lanternflies with you,” said Rhodes, who added that it is unlawful to move living stages of spotted lanternfly outside of the current quarantine zone. “The last thing you want to do as a traveler is transport this destructive pest to a new home.”
To download the checklist, visit the Penn State Extension website at https://extension.psu.edu/
Additionally, Leach said that many homeowners inside the quarantine zone are looking for ways to reduce spotted lanternfly populations, including seeking assistance from pest and landscaping professionals. These services are deemed “essential” businesses per current mitigation mandates for COVID-19, she noted.
More information on how to reduce populations of spotted lanternfly is available at https://extension.psu.edu/
–Amy Duke, Penn State University