MERCER, Pa. (WKBN) – Forty-five Pennsylvania counties are now quarantined for spotted lanternfly. Mercer County was added last week. That means a key rule goes into effect.
The first bright-colored insect was found locally close to the railroad tracks in downtown Sharon, near the industrial area.
“There aren’t widespread infestations. There are specific locations that have an infestation rather than throughout the whole county,” said Shannon Powers, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
The insect can do a world of damage to trees, all kinds of agriculture and grapes, in particular.
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture continues to work to find, track and control the pest, and that means a new rule if you are in a quarantine area like Mercer County.
“One key thing for everyone to remember is if you travel in and out of a quarantine County for business, you’re required to have a permit,” Powers said.
The permit is free and just requires you to take a simple test confirming that you know what the spotted lanternfly looks like and how to see if they’re on your vehicle.
“We don’t want you to take them with you when you go. We don’t want you to visit an area that has them and bring them home with you,” Powers said.
Spotted lanternflies will start to hatch soon. You may see their eggs on anything outdoors. They look like mud or dried gum. It’s suggested you just scrape them and smear the eggs so they won’t hatch, and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture also wants you to report them.
“We follow up on reports and inspect the surrounding area to see if it is a spotted lanternfly and how extensive is that population, and then we treat key areas,” Powers said.
Mercer County commissioners will have an expert share more about the spotted lanternfly Thursday at 3 p.m during their meeting. There will also be information about permits and how to be compliant.
Reporting a spotted lanternfly is easy. Just call 888-4BAD-FLY Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also send a report online.
You can report a spotted lanternfly in Ohio through the Ohio Department of Agriculture or email firstname.lastname@example.org.