Lycorma delicatula, commonly known as the Spotted Lanternfly, is a new invasive insect that has spread throughout southeastern Pennsylvania since its discovery in Berks County in 2014.
It has recently been discovered in Delaware County.
The Spotted Lanternfly presents a significant threat to Pennsylvania agriculture, including the grape, tree-fruit, hardwood, and nursery industries, which collectively are worth nearly $18 billion to the state’s economy.
Delaware County’s Department of Intercommunity Health, the Delaware County Conservation District, and the Penn State Extension have partnered to hold a presentation for residents and business owners regarding the threat of the Spotted Lanternfly and methods to control the species on Nov. 2 at 9 AM. The presentation will be held at the Penn State Brandywine Campus, Room 114 in the Union Building, located at 25 Yearsley Mill Road in Media.
“Orchards, wineries, hardwood, and nursery industries across the county could be impacted,” said Delaware County Council Chairman John McBlain. “We want to make residents aware of the threat and inform them about the best ways to control the population. While they don’t pose a health risk, they do present a threat to Delaware County’s and the state’s agricultural businesses.”
The spotted lanternfly attacks fruit trees. It feeds on the sap in trunks, branches, twigs, and leaves. As it digests the sap, the insect excretes a substance. There may be a buildup of the sticky fluid on infested plants and on the ground below. The sap also provides a medium for growth of fungi, such as sooty mold, which can cover leaf surfaces and stunt growth. Plants with heavy infestations may not survive.
Potentially at stake are Pennsylvania’s grape, tree-fruit, hardwood, nursery and landscape industries, which generate agricultural crops and forest products worth nearly $18 billion annually. The insect also can cause damage to high-value ornamentals in home landscapes and can affect quality of life for residents.
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has issued a quarantine for areas that have been confirmed to harbor the Spotted Lanternfly. The counties that have been quarantined are Berks, Bucks, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, and Schuylkill.
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture advises that the Adult Spotted Lanternfly and nymphs can be mechanically destroyed, such as being swatted with a shoe. If you encounter an egg mass, the department suggests to scrape the mass into a bottle that can be sealed. If you cannot scrape the egg mass into a container, mechanically destroy it as best as possible. Check your car and any furniture before exiting a quarantine zone. The species are known as “hitchhikers” and camouflage themselves in blankets and on cars. If moving furniture or wood out of quarantine, make sure they are free of egg masses.