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Agriculture Department Adds Greene County To Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine, Encourages Pennsylvanians To Help Slow Pest’s Spread As Spring Approaches

Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced today that Greene County is now among 52 Pennsylvania counties quarantined due to confirmed populations of the invasive pest spotted lanternfly. Redding also encouraged Pennsylvanians to destroy lanternfly eggs in the coming weeks prior to the spring hatch.

"There's still time to help get rid of lanternflies before they hatch," Secretary Redding said. "As you clean up your yard or enjoy these early spring days, every egg mass you scrape and squash means 30-50 pests won't hatch in May. Our dedicated teams are seeking and destroying lanternflies with partners across Pennsylvania. Even our highly trained dog, Lucky, is sniffing out eggs where people can't find them. But you don't need special training or a highly sensitive nose. Everyone can help stop this nuisance that threatens valuable plants and outdoor businesses." ​

“The Shapiro Administration is committed to protecting and preserving the tremendous value agriculture brings to our economy and daily lives," Redding continued. “Funding research critical to developing safe, innovative pest control methods, monitoring and treating aggressively, and fostering strategic partnerships among government and affected industries are all crucial tools in our fight against this pest."

In his 2024-25 budget, Governor Shapiro has proposed continued funding to combat lanternflies, and to support producers whose livelihoods they threaten, including:

  • $3 million of a $34 million Rapid Response and Disaster Readiness Fund dedicated to aiding the department's response to agricultural emergencies. In 2023, Pennsylvania awarded $150,000 in grants to county conservation districts to fund local public education efforts from this fund.

  • In late 2020, Pennsylvania employed Lucky, the nation's first dog specially trained to detect lanternfly eggs in hard-to-reach areas like shipping pallets used to transport products from quarantined areas. New funding of $145,000 will expand the program into western Pennsylvania and support a second detection dog, Ruby, and her handler, who are currently in training at PennVet's Center for Working Dogs.

  • new $10 million Agriculture and Conservation Innovation Fund will support investments to help keep Pennsylvania farms sustainable, productive and at the cutting edge amid rapid technological and market changes, and threats from invasive species that are amplified by climate change.
  • Critical agriculture research and development funding including $2.187 million in Agriculture Research funds, plus $60.596 million — an increase of $2.886 million for Penn State Agricultural Extension & Research that is crucial for educating farmers and developing novel methods for managing pests and disease. PA Farm Bill Specialty Crop Block Grants, Commodity Marketing & Research boards including Wine and Grapes, and Hardwood Promotion and Research are among many other programs that support producers threatened by lanternflies.

 The invasive spotted lanternfly was first discovered in the U.S. in Berks County in 2014. While concerted efforts among states and industry have slowed its spread, the insect, which spreads largely by hitching rides on cars and other vehicles, continues to threaten valuable food and ornamental crops. ​

Adult insects die off over the winter after laying tiny rows of eggs, covering them with a putty-colored protective coating. The egg masses, which can be on any outdoor surface, from trees and rocks to equipment and law furniture, each contain 30-50 eggs approximately the size of a pinhead and have survived winters in sub-zero temperatures. Scraping and smashing them is easy and requires no special tools.

The quarantine prohibits moving lanternflies at any stage of life, as well as infested items like firewood, brush, and other debris. Among other measures, it also requires those who operate businesses or travel for business in and out of quarantined counties to get a permit. More than 32,000 businesses across the U.S. and Canada have gotten permits for more than 1.36 million employees, demonstrating that they know how to recognize lanternflies and avoid transporting them.

Source : pa.gov

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