The spotted lanternfly is an invasive species native to China. The species was first discovered in the United States in 2014. Since then, they have invaded several northeastern and midwestern states. It typically sucks the nutrients from the plant it infects and can cause significant damage to crops and reduce yields.
Spotted lanternflies spread when their egg masses - 30 to 50 eggs, which cling to almost any surface, including vehicles like rail cars and trailers, as well as outdoor equipment and patio furniture, move from one place to another. So far, dozens of counties have been impacted in Pennsylvania, according to Pennsylvania Agriculture Department.
Sharon Powers of Pennsylvania’s Department of Agriculture said:
Some vineyards have seen a 100% crop loss. They are a threat to our economy as well as our quality of life. The honeydew that the insects squirt out covers the plants and blocks photosynthesis, so the plant doesn’t get the sunlight it needs and is basically smothered and covered with a black, sooty mold that destroys the plant.
Recently, the state’s quarantine to control the insect was expanded to 45 counties. This prohibits the movement of any spotted lanternfly life stage including egg masses, nymphs, and adults, and regulates the movement of articles that may harbor the insect.
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