Pennsylvania’s War on Spotted Lanternflies is an Uphill Battle

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Spotted Lanternfly nymphs on Sumac Tree in Berks County, Pennsylvania
Image via iStock.
While the predicted decimation of Pennsylvania vineyards and timber did not happen, spotted lanternflies are still pests to be dealt with.

When spotted lanternflies first arrived in Pennsylvania in 2014, the invasive species stirred fears of the decimation of the state’s vineyards and timber production, writes Henry Savage for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Those fears never fully materialized, in part due to a swift reaction of residents who went on a killing spree against the insect driven by a kill-on-sight order issued by Pennsylvania’s Department of Agriculture.

“Based on feedback from growers in the industry, we weren’t hearing reports of damage in tree fruit,” said Julie Urban, Penn State associate researcher in entomology. “Lanternfly feeding sustained over time can kill grape and tree of heaven, but it doesn’t really kill ornamental trees, like maples, or fruit trees.”

Still, a decade out from when the bug first showed up in Berks County, the war is still not over.

However, even though there might be fewer in number, spotted lanternflies still represent a potential threat.

They should be killed by either stomping on adult and nymph lanternflies, spraying the infested area, or by scraping any egg masses from flat surfaces and placing them directly into alcohol.

Learn more about the ongoing saga of Pennsylvania’s battle with spotted lanternflies in The Philadelphia Inquirer.


Why Americans want these insects dead.

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