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Posted on: July 17, 2020

Delaware County Awarded Grant for Treatment of Spotted Lanternflies

Spotted Lanternfly graphic 2020

During its July 15 public meeting, Delaware County Council approved a grant for the treatment of Spotted Lanternflies in the county.

The Delaware County Conservation District was awarded a grant of approximately $46,000 from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) to conduct Spotted Lanternfly control on properties within Delaware County. The District is in the process of hiring a contractor to treat Rose Tree Park and the outside property of the George W. Hill Correctional Facility. A treatment plan is currently under review and treatment is expected to begin within the next 2-4 weeks. 

Lycorma delicatula, commonly known as the Spotted Lanternfly, is an invasive insect that has spread throughout southeastern Pennsylvania since its discovery in Berks County in 2014. In 2018, the species was discovered in Delaware County.

The spotted lanternfly attacks fruit trees and feeds on the sap in trunks, branches, twigs, and leaves. As it digests the sap, the insect excretes a substance. There may be a buildup of the sticky fluid on infested plants and the ground below. The sap also provides a medium for growth of fungi, such as sooty mold, which can cover leaf surfaces and stunt growth. Plants with heavy infestations may not survive. Potentially at stake are Pennsylvania’s grape, tree-fruit, hardwood, nursery, and landscape industries, which generate crops and forest products worth nearly $18 billion annually. The insect can also cause damage to high-value ornamentals in home landscapes and can affect the quality of life for residents.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture advises that the adult Spotted Lanternfly and nymphs can be mechanically destroyed, such as being swatted with a shoe. If you encounter an egg mass, they suggest scraping the mass into a bottle that can be sealed. If you cannot scrape the egg mass into a container, mechanically destroy it as best as possible.

This year, the Spotted Lanternfly is currently found in 26 counties in Pennsylvania, up from 14 counties in 2019. Last year, Delaware County conducted an assessment of County-owned properties and found the existence of Spotted Lanternfly and Ailanthus Trees (commonly called Tree-of-Heaven), an invasive tree from China that harbors invasive insect species, including the Spotted Lanternfly.

Residents can find Spotted Lanternfly information and guidance from the Penn State Extension:

Penn State Extension website: https://extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly

Penn State Extension Master Gardeners email: delawaremg@psu.edu

PSU Spotted Lanternfly Hotline: 1-888-422-3359

Please also refer to the following information and guidance as provided by John Rockwell Hosbach Jr., Urban Forester

I. General - https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/resources/pests-diseases/hungry-pests/the-threat/spotted-lanternfly/spotted-lanternfly

II. Spotted Lanternfly Management - https://extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly-management-for-homeowners

III. Management Calendar - https://extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly-ipm-management-calendar

IV. Pennsylvania Quarantine Areas -https://www.agriculture.pa.gov/Plants_Land_Water/PlantIndustry/Entomology/spotted_lanternfly/quarantine/Pages/default.aspx

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