New invasive fruit pest found in Pennsylvania

An invasive insect new to the United States that has the potential to impact grape, fruit trees and the hardwood industries has been discovered in Berks County in Pennsylvania, prompting the immediate quarantine of Pike and District townships (Pennsylvania).

The Spotted Lanternfly, an inch-long black, red and white spotted pest, is native to China, India, Japan and Vietnam. It’s an invasive species in Korea, where it has attacked 25 plant species which also grow in Pennsylvania.

“Since this is new to the country we are taking every precaution possible,” said Agriculture Secretary George Greig. “We need to do everything we can to stop the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly. Help us by looking for adult insects and their egg clusters on your trees, cars, outside furniture – any flat surface that the eggs may be attached to.”

Spotted Lantern Fly

Spotted Lanternfly

The Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula, attacks grapes, apples, pines and stone fruits. It often attaches to the bark of Tree of Heaven – sometimes referred to as Paradise Tree – an invasive species similar to Sumac that can be found around parking lots or along tree lines. Adults often cluster in groups and lay egg masses containing 30-50 eggs that adhere to flat surfaces including tree bark. Freshly laid egg masses have a grey waxy mudlike coating, while hatched eggs appear as brownish seedlike deposits in four to seven columns about an inch long. Trees attacked by the Spotted Lanternfly will show a grey or black trail of sap down the trunk.

Dorsal view of spotted lanternfly

Dorsal view of spotted lanternfly

The general quarantine of the two townships restricts movement of any material or object that can spread the pest. This includes firewood or wood products, brush or yard waste, remodeling or construction materials and waste, packing material like boxes, grapevines for decorative purposes or as nursery stock, and any outdoor household articles like lawnmowers, grills, tarps and any other equipment, trucks or vehicles not stored indoors.

For more information, see the Spotted Lanternfly web page at Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Press Release

NOTE: This pest is not in the Southern region currently, but this post is to give a “heads up” for scouting fruit orchards and vineyards in the South.

Pennsylvania State University Extension has a website with information and photos to help identify Spotted Lanternfly and the trees and plants that you may find it in.

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