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Invasion of Spotted Lanternfly topic of garden club program in McCandless

Tony LaRussa
| Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019, 3:00 p.m.
This illustration shows the life cycle of the invasive Spotted Lanternfly, which is posing a danger to Pennsylvania crops.
PA. Dept. of Agriculture
This illustration shows the life cycle of the invasive Spotted Lanternfly, which is posing a danger to Pennsylvania crops.
Lateral view of an adult Lycorma delicatula, also known as the Spotted Lanternfly.
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
Lateral view of an adult Lycorma delicatula, also known as the Spotted Lanternfly.

The Spotted Lanternfly may have an innocuous name. But the tiny, destructive pest that has been discovered in eastern parts of the state is believed to be heading west.

Learning how to identify and combat the invasive plant hopper that can do serious harm to agricultural crops is the topic of a free Jan. 22 program hosted by the Longvue Acres Garden Club featuring Penn State Master Gardner Dianne Machesney.

The program will be held at 7:30 p.m. at Northmont United Presbyterian Church in McCandless, located at 8169 Perry Highway.

Machesney will outline how to identify the Spotted Lanternfly, the problems they can cause and what gardeners should do if they find them.

The Penn State Extension has set up a hotline to assist residents with identifying and reporting the pest’s presence.

The invasive bug native to China, India and Vietnam was first discovered in Pennsylvania in Berks County in 2014 and has spread to a dozen other counties in the southeast portion of the state, according to agricultural officials.

To slow the Spotted Lanternfly’s movement across the Pennsylvania, officials have issued quarantines for the counties where they have been found along with guidelines on how to check wood, stone, plants, yard debris, outdoor furniture, tarps and other items before they are moved to ensure they do not contain flies or egg masses.

The fly lays its eggs on a variety of smooth surfaces, including debarked logs awaiting export in shipping yards.

Early last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced $17.5 million in emergency funding to fight the spread of the spotted lanternfly in Pennsylvania.

The USDA says $8.7 million will be spent on a survey and control program for the infested areas, with $7.5 million going toward insecticides and herbicides and the rest to fund public education efforts.

Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368 or tlarussa@tribweb.com or via Twitter @TonyLaRussaTrib.

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