UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State employees whose work duties require travel to, from and within the spotted lanternfly quarantine zone in southeastern Pennsylvania now have a brief reprieve from mandatory vehicle inspections.
“We are quickly approaching the end of the active spotted lanternfly period,” said Dennis Calvin, associate dean and director of special programs in the College of Agricultural Sciences. “With the rare exception of a few adults that might be in sheltered areas, the first freeze, which occurred last weekend, should have killed the remaining adults.”
With that, he said, employees should conduct one last vehicle inspection and record it, after which staff will not have to check vehicles for the pest until the end of March, when nymphs begin to hatch. A notification will be sent when inspections are to resume.
While employees will not have to check vehicles during the inactive period, they are required to inspect equipment and products that were placed outside during the egg deposition period. Egg masses found on these items must be removed and destroyed. For information on how to destroy egg masses, visit https://extension.psu.edu/how-to-remove-spotted-lanternfly-eggs.
The spotted lanternfly is an invasive insect that first was found in the U.S. in 2014 in Berks County. The planthopper, native to Asia, has the potential to harm Pennsylvania’s economy by damaging crops, landscapes and natural ecosystems, including the grape, tree-fruit, hardwood and nursery industries, which collectively are worth $18 billion.
So far, the insect has been contained to a state-imposed quarantine zone consisting of 14 counties — Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia and Schuylkill.
“Thanks to all employees for their efforts to minimize the chances of moving spotted lanternfly outside the quarantine zone,” Calvin said. “This is very important to all citizens of Pennsylvania and the state’s economy.”
More information about Penn State procedures for implementing the spotted lanternfly quarantine can be found on the Environmental Health and Safety website at https://ehs.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly/overview.
To learn more about the spotted lanternfly, permitting regulations, management techniques and how to report a sighting, visit the Penn State Extension website at https://extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly.
–Amy Duke, Penn State University