If you’re like most people in southeastern Pennsylvania you’ve probably been hearing a lot lately about the spotted lanternfly, as state and local officials brace for another season of unwanted impacts by the invasive insect species that was first discovered in Berks County in 2014.
Over the past five years it has spread to other parts of the Commonwealth, including Northampton County, which is part of a quarantine zone the PA Department of Agriculture has established as part of an attempt to help limit the lanternfly’s spread. You may already have noticed lanternflies or their eggs in your neighborhood or in a public area in or around Saucon Valley, as an alert Saucon Source reader did along the Saucon Rail Trail Wednesday.
Christine Ziegler shared these photos of a lanternfly egg mass on a tree trunk near the Reading Drive Trailhead/Bingen Road in Lower Saucon Township with Saucon Source. In turn, we have reported the sighting to the state via their online submission form. Residents should use the form to report sightings, which helps state officials in their efforts to manage and reduce the spread of the infestation. Click here to view various photos of insects and eggs that are available for identification purposes.
Recently a permit requirement for individuals living or working within the quarantine zone who move vehicles, products or other items within or out of the zone was established. You can learn more about the permit requirements and register for online training on the Department of Agriculture’s website.
Why are spotted lanternflies bad? For starters, they have the potential to destroy billions of dollars worth of agricultural products such as grapes, hops and hardwood trees, just to name a few. And in heavily infested areas, the sheer number of spotted lanternflies is already reducing the quality of life for anyone who wants to spend time outdoors.
There was some good news this week in the war against the bugs, with the announcement that researchers in Berks County have discovered that two fungi native to Berks are capable of infecting and killing spotted lanternflies.
For more information about the spotted lanternfly and how to deal with it, visit the Department of Agriculture and Penn State Extension websites.