Invasive lanternfly confirmed in seven Pike townships

Invasive pest. The insect has been confirmed in Delaware, Dingman, Greene, Lehman, Milford, Porter, and Shohola.

| 29 Apr 2021 | 05:04

The invasive spotted lanternfly has infiltrated seven Pike County townships, putting the county on Pennsylvania’s quarantine list in 2021.

The insect has been confirmed in Delaware, Dingman, Greene, Lehman, Milford, Porter and Shohola, Penn State Cooperative Extension’s Stephen Alessi told the the county commissioners on April 21.

“It moved fairly well in Pike County,” Alessi said.

The spotted lanternfly is a destructive pest that the cooperative extension estimated arrived in Pennsylvania in 2012 and in Berks County in 2014. It’s native to Asia and found its way to the United States in shipping containers.

It feeds on more than 70 plants, including grape vines, apple trees, maples, birches, sycamores, willows, and staghorn sumac.

Its preferred host is another invasive, the tree of heaven. It also prefers black walnut trees and hops, which could be a concern for breweries.

“This could affect what other states say about transporting goods from and could interrupt commerce,” Alessi said. “It’s also destructive to the ecosystem.”

It travels along busy corridors, including interstate highways, but is also traveling on railroads.

Quarantine means transporters must show they have no viable signs of spotted lanternfly.

The insect moves most freely in crated materials, vehicle equipment trailers, recreational vehicles, hardgoods like stone and tile decorative materials, firewood, and nursery stock.

Businesses will need to inspect vehicles before shipping goods.

“The goal is to stop the spread, slow it down, and hopefully eradicate it,” Alessi said.

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