The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) expanded the quarantine area for the spotted lanternfly last month to include Dauphin County. After an investigation into sightings of the invasive pest were confirmed, Dauphin County received treatment for the insect.
The quarantine gives the department the authority to restrict movement of commodities within the zone. This restricts movement of articles that could contain life stages of the spotted lanternfly, including eggs, nymphs and adults. Counties included in the quarantine are Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia and Schuylkill.
Businesses are required to take an online training course to help them recognize the pest and prevent its movement. Once completed, they receive a permit from the department. Beginning May 1, 2019, the PDA Bureau of Plant Industry will conduct inspections and verification checks to confirm that businesses are properly permitted. Failure to obtain the permit and educate employees could result in penalties and fines to the business.
The spotted lanternfly is an invasive planthopper native to China, India and Vietnam. It was first discovered in Berks County, Pennsylvania and has spread to the southeast portion of the Commonwealth. It can greatly impact agricultural crops such as grapes, hops and hardwoods. Penn State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture are working to control and contain the spread of the spotted lanternfly.
Business owners should incorporate pest management into their vegetation management plans and work to minimize the possibility of this insect hitching a ride on products they produce and ship. Businesses who ship products within and out of the quarantine zone are required to have or hire companies who have a Spotted Lanternfly Permit. Businesses and homeowners can also receive more information on these pests through the Penn State Extension.