Spotted Lanternfly Causing Concern for Farmers in Schuylkill County

SCHUYLKILL COUNTY -- About two weeks ago, the Spotted Lanternfly was first seen in Schuylkill County.

"It is a piercing, sucking insect," Penn State Extension Master Gardener Coordinator Susan Hyland said.

Hyland said this is a fly the county doesn't want around. It's known to kill trees and other crops by sucking the juices out of them. She said the lanternfly goes after fruit trees as well as grape vines.

"That's going to harm the tree," Hyland said. "It's going to put it into a decline. It can actually take so much of the nutrients that it will die."

The Spotted Lanternfly is native to China, India, and Vietnam. Some of the flies were first seen in Berks County in 2014. The State Department of Agriculture believes it was brought to our area on a container ship.

Newswatch 16 spoke to Ralph Heffner, the owner of Jersey Acres farm. He's well aware of the insect.

"We know we do not have it here today," Heffner said. "That doesn't mean we won't have it tomorrow."

While he has not had any problems with the Spotted Lanternfly, he said a friend in Berks County does.

"We have a friend who grows a lot of grapes down in the Boyertown area and he's sort of in the midst of it," Heffner said. "His description of how many of them are laying on the ground after he's tried to spray to control them is sort of scary."

Hyland is hoping that more people will learn about the fly so they can help prevent the spread of them.

"That's our effort," Hyland said. "To make sure information, now, ahead of a serious infestation, can be in the hands of homeowners as well as growers in our county."

If you see a Spotted Lanternfly, you should contact the State Department of Agriculture at 866-253-7189 or visit this website.

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8 comments

  • Creamy Joe Paterno

    If these things bite a Street roamer they’re probably going to get really horny, walk all over town in awkward fashion wearing tight sweats, get drunk at the fire company before borough council meeting, and then dig youths wearing uniforms at sporting events. Skookle skookle doodle! Big doings always being talked about amongst the fatties in Frackville, Pottsville, Ashland, and Orwigsburg

  • Johnson Steele

    “The Spotted Lanternfly is native to China, India, and Vietnam. Some of the flies were first seen in Berks County in 2014. The State Department of Agriculture believes it was brought to our area on a container ship.” More of the wonderful benefits of global ‘free trade’. Previously this would have been impossible, but now all sorts of horrible things can be transplanted from anywhere to anywhere in no time at all.

      • PEATER MOSS

        So you would rather have a cheap computer than fruit on the table.
        That really makes sense, enjoy your virtual apple juice, virtual orange juice, virtual lemon juice, and virtual wine while you sit on the computer.
        BTW. Lots of children drink fruit juices too.

    • PEATER MOSS

      And let’s not forget the Emerald Ash Borer that has been killing all the ash trees, also brought here from china, via all the wooden pallets.

      We can’t take firewood across state lines in some cases, but yet tons of pallets enter our ports everyday and get shipped to all 50 states.

    • Jay

      “Previously?” Previous to what? The gypsy moth caterpillar was introduced to North America in the late 1800s. The British and Dutch colonialists during the 17th-19th centuries introduced rats and rabbits onto many South Pacific Islands and subsequently wiped out or severely altered entire island ecosystems. This is not a new phenomenon.

      The damn dandelion was introduced to North America (purposely!) aboard the Mayflower.