A Montgomery County township, along with another Berks County township, has now been quarantined as local, state and community partners continue efforts to stop the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly. New to the United States, the invasive insect was first found in Berks County last fall.
The additional quarantine includes Upper Hanover Township’s boroughs of East Greenville, Pennsburg, and Red Hill in Montgomery County and Oley Township in Berks County. The previous quarantined areas are each located in Berks County and include Colebrookdale, District, Earl, Hereford, Longswamp, Pike, Rockland and Washington townships and the boroughs of Bally, Bechtelsville and Topton.
“We are not surprised to see the appearance in Montgomery County as Upper Hanover Township is adjacent to Hereford and Washington Townships in Berks County,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “The populations of the insects are not high in these newly identified townships, but we will continue our surveying efforts to ensure we are doing everything we can to eradicate this pest.”
The general quarantine restricts movement of any material or object that can spread the pest. This includes firewood or wood products, brush or yard waste, remodeling or construction materials and waste, packing material like boxes, grapevines for decorative purposes or as nursery stock, and any outdoor household articles like lawnmowers, grills, tarps and any other equipment, trucks or vehicles not stored indoors.
“This is not an effort we have undertaken on our own,” Redding added. “I want to thank the multiple community partners for their efforts to help us. It is through that network that we can continue our work to isolate and eliminate this invasive species.”
Businesses in the general quarantine area need to obtain a Certificate of Limited Permit from the department in order to move articles. Criminal and civil penalties of up to $20,000 and prison time can be imposed for violations by businesses or individuals.
The Spotted Lanternfly, which has no known impacts to human health, is an inch-long black, red and white spotted pest and is native to China, India, Japan and Vietnam. It’s an invasive species in Korea, where it has attacked 25 plant species which also grow in Pennsylvania.
Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula, attacks grapes, apples, pines and stone fruits. It often attaches to the bark of Tree of Heaven – sometimes referred to as Paradise Tree – an invasive species similar to Sumac that can be found around parking lots or along tree lines. Adults often cluster in groups and lay egg masses containing 30-50 eggs that adhere to flat surfaces including tree bark. Freshly laid egg masses have a grey waxy mudlike coating, while hatched eggs appear as brownish seedlike deposits in four to seven columns about an inch long. Trees attacked by the Spotted Lanternfly will show a grey or black trail of sap down the trunk.
In July, surveillance crews began precautionary monitoring of Lehigh and Montgomery counties to ensure that the Spotted Lanternfly had not moved beyond the Berks County line. There has been no indication of the pest in Lehigh County. The department is investigating the quarantined and surrounding areas to assess the spread and impact of the pest. Additional townships may be added to the quarantine.
All Pennsylvanians are encouraged to watch for the Spotted Lanternfly and offered the following suggestions:
- If you see eggs: Scrape them off the tree or smooth surface, double bag them and throw them in the garbage, or place the eggs in alcohol or hand sanitizer to kill them.
- If you collect a specimen: Turn the adult specimen or egg mass in to the department’s Entomology Lab for verification. First, place the sample in alcohol or hand sanitizer in a leak proof container.
- If you take a photo: Submit photo of adults or egg masses to email@example.com.
- If you report a site: Call the Invasive Species report line at 1-866-253-7189 with details of the sighting and your contact information.
While Pennsylvanians can submit suspect eggs to the department headquarters in Harrisburg or to its six regional office locations, county Penn State Extension offices are often a closer, faster option.