On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture announced that eight more counties had been added to the state’s spotted lanternfly quarantine.
The eight newly quarantined counties run from the state’s eastern border to its southwestern border and include Cambria, Cameron, Franklin, Lackawanna, Montour, Pike, Wayne and Westmoreland counties.
However, the department noted that the added counties were not “completely infested,” but rather had “a few municipalities with a known infestation.”
Arguably the most hated bug in Pennsylvania, the spotted lanternfly or SLF, as it is often called, feeds on the sap of more than 70 different plant species.
“It has a strong preference for economically important plants including grapevines, maple trees, black walnut, birch, willow, and other trees,” according to Penn State Extension, an educational network that provides access and resources to the community.
The Spotted Lanternfly, an invasive pest, has now been located in 34 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, according to a statement from the department.
Officials say they’re optimistic that expanding the quarantine will slow the spread of the pests.
“When we expand the quarantine, our goal is to slow the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly,” said Dr. Ruth Welliver, director of the department’s Bureau of Plant Industry. “And we have slowed it. Last spring we quarantined 12 counties with isolated infestations, and those counties have not been overrun because of the heightened awareness a quarantine brings. With continued aggressive treatment and monitoring, and an actively engaged community, we can help ensure families and businesses in these new counties aren’t inconvenienced by widespread infestation.”
Pennsylvanians are encouraged to squash bugs and report sightings and infestations to Penn State Extension.
“The Spotted Lanternfly is more than a pest in the literal sense,” state Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “It’s wreaking havoc for home and business owners, kids who just want to play outside, Pennsylvania agriculture and the economy of the state we all call home. Whether you think it’s your job or not, we need every Pennsylvanian to keep their eyes peeled for signs of this bad bug – to scrape every egg mass, squash every bug, and report every sighting. We need to unite in our hatred for this pest for our common love: Pennsylvania.”