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PA Agriculture Dept. Continues Battle Against Spotted Lanternfly

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PA Agriculture Department Continues Battle Against Spotted Lanternfly

16205_PDA_Lantern_Fly_ML_00011.jpgHARRISBURG, Pa. – Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) and others on Tuesday visited a Harrisburg site populated with Spotted Lanternflies to view the treatment being conducted across the Commonwealth.

“Although Pennsylvania had the unlucky fate of being the first state in the nation to be visited by the Spotted Lanternfly, we faced that challenge head-on and have made incredible strides in containment and control,” said Gov. Wolf. “This is a team effort and all hands are on deck, committed to protecting Pennsylvania’s agricultural products, preserving our quality of life, and keeping commerce flowing here in the commonwealth.”

Under the governor’s PA Farm Bill – a package of legislation designed to expand and protect agriculture infrastructure – the Pennsylvania Rapid Response Disaster Readiness Account will provide $3 million toward the containment of the Spotted Lanternfly. This is the second year in a row the governor has allocated funding in the state budget to increase spotted lanternfly detection, control, and eradication efforts. Over the past few years, the administration has allocated more than $10 million to protect Pennsylvania business and agriculture. Additionally, USDA recently dedicated more than $6.2 million in new funding to Pennsylvania’s efforts.

This May, PDA introduced the Spotted Lanternfly permit system to train businesses and employees on recognizing the life stages of the Spotted Lanternfly. Since then, the department has issued more than 900,000 permits to businesses that travel in and out of the quarantine area. Additionally, PDA and USDA teams continue to assess and treat high-risk properties, with survey teams scouting for insects across the state after receiving reports of sightings outside of the quarantine area. Penn State has taken the lead on conducting outreach and research.

“Pennsylvania’s progress in controlling the Spotted Lanternfly is due in part to the historic partnership we’ve made with USDA and Penn State and the critical funding we received through the state and federal budgets,” said Sec. Redding. “However, it’s important that Pennsylvanians remember that they play a significant role in this fight. They can treat their property with approved sprays, band their trees, or even use something as simple as a fly swatter to help control populations right in their own backyard.”

Businesses can obtain a Spotted Lanternfly permit at https://extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly-permit-training. Homeowners with questions about treatment, including approved sprays, can learn more through Penn State Extension at http://extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly.

For more information on the Spotted Lanternfly, visit https://www.agriculture.pa.gov/spottedlanternfly.                                                                                                                                                                                https://www.explorejeffersonpa.com/pa-agriculture-department-continues-battle-against-spotted-lanternfly/#more-235993

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All Penn State College of Agriculture employees are being asked to go out and inspect for Spotted Lanternfly on a specific schedule in August.  Around here, unless you know where there is Tree of Heaven, like a bigger version of Sumac, it's pretty hard.  So far, nothing has been found here in Clearfield or Jefferson County.  It's only a matter of time however till the insects are carried out of the quarantine zone by vehicles and come west to our area.  Truckers are required to inspect every time they go through that area before they leave it.

They're not just a danger to the lumber industry, but they can make a deck, patio or driveway pretty unusable.  Their sticky droppings are almost impossible to remove, and can be a solid mass under trees.  They are very hard to kill, and their eggs masses must be scraped off of trees in order to stop them from hatching.  Hunters and hikers are asked to keep an eye out in the fall when they are out in the woods.

Tree of Heaven is their favored food source, and it's found in State College and Altoona.  Do we have it here?  It has been sold as a landscape tree, so someone may actually have it in their yard.  If so, we would like to be able to check it occasionally for the presence of these plant hoppers.  They are very difficult to catch, but if you do find one, we need to see it immediately.

Call 849-7361 or e-mail JeffersonMG@psu.edu for assistance.

Tree of Heaven photos:  

https://www.google.com/search?q=tree+of+heaven+pictures&rlz=1C1EJFC_enUS846US846&oq=Tree+of+Heaven&aqs=chrome.4.0l6.7792j0j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

 


"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil but by those who watch them without doing anything"

Albert Einstein

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Spotted lanternfly continues to concern state officials


 
Spotted Lanternfly (WJAC)

The state secretary of agriculture said the department has spent billions of dollars trying to prevent crop devastation by the spotted lanternfly.

Agriculture experts said the insect can eat its way through a wide range of crops.

They said the spotted lanternfly hops from crop to crop easily and can latch onto vehicles and cargo.

Some of the control measures have included putting the southeastern part of the state under quarantine.

But researchers are now looking at ways to find or develop a biological prevention measure to stop the population growth of the spotted lanternfly.

For the moment, the state Department of Agriculture has set up a separate spotted lanternfly hotline to help track the insect's travels.

The insect has also damaged crops in neighboring states, including New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.    SEE VIDEO REPORT    ;    https://wjactv.com/news/local/spotted-lanternfly-continues-to-concern-state-officials

 

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I did find a group of Tree of Heaven in Clearfield and inspected it but there was no sign of the Spotted Lanternfly.  

Tree of Heaven is a favorite for this plant hopper.  Being right along the main road, it should be a good spot to inspect on a regular basis. If you know where some Tree of Heaven exist, be sure to let your county extension know also.  There are regular inspection times that someone will check them.

Tree of Heaven looks a lot like Sumac but will not have the typical yellow male head or the red spike on top.  It's fruiting body is a plume of seeds hanging down, and will remain there through the winter.  The leaf is longer than Sumac with more leaflets per side.  Sumac will have about ten on each side of the long leaf, while Tree of Heaven will have 20 or more.  The trunk gets very large like a typical tree and the bark looks like dark gray cantalope skin.  When you break off a leaf, it will leave a heart shaped break in the bark.  The entire grove smelled like Peanut Butter to me.

 


"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil but by those who watch them without doing anything"

Albert Einstein

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The spotted lanternfly feeds on over 65 different crops including grapes, apples, peaches and yes, our native staghorn sumac. Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) does exist around here but is an ornamental import from Asia that has gone native and is not as prevalent as it is in some other areas. They stink! Literally, I grew up with one outside my bedroom window. I don't think that we have to worry about them breeding on Tree of Heaven as much as we have to worry about them munching on cash crops. They will devastate the wine industry and aren't going to be good for the timber industry as they also feed on walnuts and some other hardwood trees. 

The big problem is that they lay eggs just about anywhere. They will hitch a ride on vehicles and anything that is transported that has been outside. They found egg masses not too long ago at a Penn State football game that had come in on a vehicle. It was an isolated incident and so far we are safe. 

 

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Tree of Heaven is the tree they will go to first as it is part of their native Asia, and is also why it is being used as a search tool. Both were imported here.

The insects will also spread to many different kinds of trees and crops which are not native to them.  Thus far they are only found in the SE part of Pennsylvania and some surrounding states abutting Pennsylvania,  but anyone driving through that area to other parts of the growing areas around there, including other states, are being asked to check their vehicles and cargo for hitchhiking Spotted Lanternfly.  All trucks are subject to being stopped and searched after going through the quarantined area. If they want to travel freely, then they must complete the state training which will allow them a sticker for their truck so they are less likely to be stopped.  However, how many will really check thoroughly.  Penn State employees are also required to complete the training.

Hunters and hikers are being asked to check trees as they travel through the woods this fall, and to destroy/report any egg masses that they would find.  These will be particularly prevalent alongside major highways.

In Jefferson County we are asking people to report the presence of the Tree of Heaven so we can use it as a first place to check on a regular basis.


"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil but by those who watch them without doing anything"

Albert Einstein

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Agriculture Department Invites Pennsylvania Students to Help Fight Spotted Lanternfly

adult-spotted-lanternfly-side-view.jpgHARRISBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture on Tuesday invited first- through eighth-grade students to help spread the message about the threat of the invasive Spotted Lanternfly by entering the 2019 calendar contest.

(PICTURED: Spotted Lanternfly adult. Photo courtesy Dalton Ludwick.)

“When children talk, people listen,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “Last year, more than 800 kids helped us tell the story of what this insect is, how it hurts us, and what you can do to help keep it from spreading. Pennsylvania kids are great storytellers, and we need their help again.”

The 2018 Spotted Lanternfly Calendar Contest generated more than 800 entries from students across the state. Participating students learn in their classrooms about the threat posed by this invasive insect. Their messages and illustrations help Pennsylvanians identify Spotted Lanternflies, and encourage discussion among their families and neighbors about how they can join in the fight to stop its spread.

The contest is open to all first- through eighth-grade Pennsylvania students, and entries must include:

  • One fact about Spotted Lanternfly;
  • Artwork created by the student;
  • 11” X 17” poster, horizontally oriented;
  • Original artwork, no copies will be accepted; and
  • A complete contest submission form attached or emailed with the poster.

The competition will run through October 31, 2019. Entries will be judged in four divisions: first and second grade; third and fourth grade; fifth and sixth grade; seventh and eighth grade. The top three winning entries per grade will be featured in a calendar, and the grand prize winner will appear on the cover.

The winners will receive a prize package and will be recognized during the 2020 Pennsylvania Farm Show.

Contestants can enter by sending their artwork to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Communications Office, Room 210, 2301 N. Cameron Street Harrisburg, PA 17110 or email entries to ra-agslfcalendars@pa.gov. All submissions must be postmarked or emailed by October 31, 2019.

For more information about Spotted Lanternfly, visit www.agriculture.pa.gov/spottedlanternfly.

Click here for a complete list of rules.                                                                                                                                            https://www.explorejeffersonpa.com/agriculture-department-invites-pennsylvania-students-to-help-fight-spotted-lanternfly/

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Doesn't it seem that every year there's a new threat, I hate it. One of my best friend's son is an entomologist, the bug world is creepy to say the least.


 

"If I could start my life all over again, I would be a professional football player, and you damn well better believe I would be a Pittsburgh Steeler."

 

-- Jack Lambert --

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Yes, more than one a year.  Every time something new invades, we have to learn about it and be prepared to answer questions about it.  One thing this year was a batch of Rhododendrons that was sold with a virus, and sure enough, some cropped up right here in our area.  I think I had gotten the info about two days ahead of the infection.  

Our climate is damper, yet colder and warmer, which allows a lot of fungus to spread.  Another thing is imported insects that come in on crops and containers.  Not every one can be caught before entry, and if two, or a mated female gets loose, and likes it here, then we got a problem Lucy!

I'm really impressed with the speed and accuracy of how the Agriculture departments have stepped up to deal with these things.


"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil but by those who watch them without doing anything"

Albert Einstein

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'Gross': Lanternflies causing big bug problem for some

The spotted lanternfly will fly in your face, land on your shirt and crawl on the back of your neck - and the state says the bugs threaten $18 billion worth of agriculture in Pennsylvania.

'Gross': Lanternflies causing big bug problem for some

The spotted lanternfly will fly in your face, land on your shirt and crawl on the back of your neck - and the state says the bugs threaten $18 billion worth of agriculture in Pennsylvania.

 
 
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In the Great Spotted Lanternfly War, Pennsylvania's citizen-soldiers are fighting back with fly swatters and vacuums, dish soap and sticky tape. They're stomping and spraying and zapping and bragging about their kills on social media. "DESTROY THEM," a propaganda poster urges. "Die, die, die, spotted lanternfly," a balladeer sings.

And still the invaders come, hordes of them, relentless and seemingly inexhaustible. The lanternflies' rampage has been slowed but not stoppe

Swarms of lanternflies in Pa.: See them in the video player above.

The insect -- a large, colorful planthopper native to southeast Asia -- has emerged as a serious pest since the federal government confirmed its arrival in southeastern Pennsylvania five years ago. It sucks the sap from valuable trees and vines, weakening them. It rains its clear, sticky, sugary waste -- euphemistically called "honeydew" -- onto pools and decks, driving exasperated homeowners indoors when they're not too busy killing the fluttering buggers.

Lanternflies aren't shy, either. They will fly in your face, land on your shirt and crawl on the back of your neck.

More worrisome, the state agriculture department says the lanternflies threaten $18 billion worth of Pennsylvania agriculture, including tree fruit, timber, hops and especially grapes. And the bug has expanded its range into New Jersey, Delaware and Virginia, alarming officials in those states and beyond as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is involved in containment and suppression efforts.

 
 
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Though researchers are looking for ways to eradicate the red-winged interloper, "controlling them on a population level is almost impossible at this point," said Heather Leach, an entomologist who does lanternfly outreach at Penn State Extension.

Lori Beatrice can relate. Battalions of bugs have been swarming her back deck in Phoenixville, about 30 miles from Philadelphia. She and her husband have killed thousands, but "we're outnumbered," Beatrice said. "It's just gross. It's disgusting. It's like waking up in a nightmare."

The yearslong infestation poses an existential threat to grapes that supply Pennsylvania's $4.8 billion wine industry.

Dean Scott, who grows grapes for local wineries around Kutztown, has been spraying insecticide on his vines in an effort to keep the bugs at bay. It works for a few days, but they inevitably return. The carnage is evident in the blackened trunks of diseased grapes vines, and in the thousands of dead insects that litter the vineyard. One of Scott's fellow growers left the business after losing 40 acres of vines.

"It's depressing," said Scott, whose vineyard produces 12 tons to 15 tons of grapes each year, and who is counting on it to help support him in retirement. "My fear is that if this continues, we're going to lose the battle here in Pennsylvania."

 
 
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Scientists from Penn State University, Cornell University and elsewhere are trying to prevent that from happening. They're testing chemical and biological methods of control, including native fungi implicated in a lanternfly die-off in Berks County. Government contractors, meanwhile, are removing tree of heaven -- an invasive tree that is the lanternflies' preferred host -- from public property. The states with the heaviest infestations have established quarantines meant to limit the bugs' spread.

And now, with females beginning to lay their eggs, Pennsylvania is encouraging its citizen militia to scrape the mud-like egg masses from trees, cars, lawn furniture, outdoor equipment and other surfaces.

"We're heading into the season where everyday people can have the greatest impact on what happens next year," said Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Shannon Powers. "Every egg mass you scrape gets rid of 30 to 60 insects that might hatch out next season."

In some quarters, the situation has become darkly comic.

Philadelphia police asked residents to stop calling 911 to report lanternfly sightings, tweeting that while the insects are a nuisance, they're not, strictly speaking, a matter for law enforcement. "And on that note, we, for one, would like to welcome our new insect overlords," the department quipped.

The public address announcer for Allentown's minor-league baseball team is working on a mock movie trailer in the old-timey style of Ken Burns' documentary "The Civil War," casting himself as a sepia-toned Army commander and the lanternflies as combatants. Another fake preview reimagines the insect invasion as a flesh-crawling horror film , its tagline: "How many did you kill today?" Someone else developed a gross-out app called "Squish" on which users track and map their lanternfly kills and post photos of the crumpled carcasses.

 
 
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If most Pennsylvanians in the Great Spotted Lanternfly War are regular Army, Jim Wood is Special Forces.

To deal with the swarms of lanternflies that have been attacking his trees, Wood turned a wet/dry vac into an effective killing machine. He attached a piece of plastic bottle to the business end of a long wand, allowing him to capture that many more insects with each pass. The insects, in turn, get sucked into a nylon stocking. Wood goes on patrol at least once a day, estimating he's killed nearly 40,000 this year.

But even this super-soldier can get discouraged by the sheer size of the enemy force.

"There are some days I just wanted to quit," he said.                                                                                                             SEE VIDEOES;                                               

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There is a grove of Tree of Heaven in Clearfield by the CVS.  I stopped there to check them out but found nothing at that time.  Please note, the trees need checked on a regular basis for any signs of the insect.  That would be a prime spot for them to bail from a vehicle passing through.  Although that is their favorite tree, you can find them on any hardwood species, and that's the economic backbone for our area.

Hunters and hikers are asked to check for egg masses right now, and report them to the Department of Agriculture at 1-888-422-3359 or call your local county Extension.


"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil but by those who watch them without doing anything"

Albert Einstein

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PSU gets $7.3 million grant for spotted lanternfly research

News

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ) — Spotted lantern flies have been destroying fruit trees and vineyards in the Philadelphia area.

It’s spread to 14 PA counties and biologists are worried the insects are moving west.

With over 100 acres of fruit, Jason Coopey, Co-Owner of Way Fruit Farm, says he’s concerned about the threat of spotted lantern flies affecting his business.

Coopey grows grapes and apples, the spotted lantern fly’s favorite treats.
The closest spotted lanternflies may have been seen in Harrisburg , but coppey says there’s still reason to be alert.

“These things have wings and anything with wings travel very quickly,” Jason Coopey, Co-Owner for Way Fruit Farm, said. “The Emerald Ash Borer is a prime example of of what happened with these latest invasive species. There’s not an Ash tree alive right now, on this farm. You know all of them have died from the Emerald ash borer.”

Wednesday, Penn State announced they’re receiving a $7.3 million dollar federal grant for spotted lanternfly research.

Julie Urban, an Entomologist at Penn State says, right now the university and seven other schools in the Northeast are learning more about the insect and ways to stop them, like unleashing the bug’s predator, a wasp from it’s native habitat in China.

“We want to make sure that is we release a foreign insect here, it’s not going to hurt our native insects,” Urban, said.

She says the insect loves urban areas and certain trees, like red maples. That’s two things State College has going against it.

Coopey says he expects spotted lanternflies to be in Central PA soon, but says this grant and research will help us prepare.

“I do like the fact that they are getting proactive on this and that’s allowing for us to not be behind whenever it does occur,” Coopey, said.

Professor Urban says they expect the federal grant money to kick in any day now.                                                              SEE VIDEO    ;   https://www.wearecentralpa.com/news/psu-gets-7-3-million-grant-for-spotted-lanternfly-research/

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If they manage to make it to Erie and the vineyards there, it will be a major disaster.


"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil but by those who watch them without doing anything"

Albert Einstein

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