Spotted Lanternfly Went from a Few Municipalities to 13 Counties, Posing Multibillion-Dollar Threat

Image of the spotted lanternfly via the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

The spotted lanternfly, a species native to Asia, was first discovered in Berks County in 2014.

In that first year, scientific models predicted that the lanternfly wouldn’t survive the state’s cold, snowy winter, according to the Altoona Mirror.

They couldn’t have been more wrong.

The spotted lanternfly has adapted quite well to living here, and is a threat to lumber, as well as the crops used in alcohol production (hops for beer and grapes for wine).

A quarantine zone has spread from a handful of municipalities in Berks County four years ago to 13 counties today, according to a report in the Allentown Morning Call. More than $20 million in federal and state funds have been earmarked to stop the insect, which, experts say, poses an $18 billion threat to Pennsylvania’s economy.

Where are we in the fight to derail the bug’s quest to destroy our agriculture?

“Scientists are studying the effectiveness of different pesticides, working on traps and lures and exploring ‘biological control options,’ which means introducing a natural predator,” the Morning Call wrote.

In the meantime, it would seem that we all now have a civic duty to report sightings of the spotted lanternfly, which can be done by clicking here or by calling 1-888-4BADFLY.

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