The spotted lanternfly is the latest stowaway to bug tree growers throughout the eastern U.S. This native of China, India
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is treating the problem seriously, awarding $17.5 million in emergency funding to halt its spread.
The funds will be shared between USDA-APHIS efforts to manage the expanding perimeter and Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture efforts to manage the epicenter.
The pest, first identified in Berks County in 2014, has spread throughout southeastern Pennsylvania into New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and – just this February –Virginia.
“We’ve seen a dramatic expansion in the range of this pest over the last year and we need to take decisive action to prevent the spotted lanternfly from spreading throughout Pennsylvania and into neighboring states,” USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue says.
The spotted lanternfly is noted for its distinctive and colorful wings. The adult is an inch-long black, red and white spotted insect native to Southeast Asia. Since it was first identified in 2014, it has spread to 13 southeastern Pennsylvania counties. Quarantines have been established in those counties to prevent the movement of spotted lanternflies at any stage of their life cycle.
The invasive insect threatens to destroy $18 billion worth of agricultural commodities produced in the state, such as apples, grapes
The emergency funding, which was made available through existing Commodity Credit Corporation balances, will be used for a two-pronged approach to
In addition to emergency activities in Pennsylvania, APHIS is planning to use existing resources to conduct surveys, and control measures if necessary, in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Virginia. *
In addition to the federal funding, Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf proposed nearly $1.6 million in dedicated funding to combat the pest as part of his fiscal year 2018-19 budget plan.
“For more than three years, we have been trying to contain — if not eradicate — the spotted lanternfly in Pennsylvania,” says State Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding.
There are several ways experts have tried to fight the insect in Pennsylvania. There are insecticides, which can be used both on the pests themselves and on the trees. A second method is tree
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