Spotting the Spotted Lanternfly in Pennsylvania

MONROE COUNTY, Pa. -- Thirteen counties in the state are under quarantine, but it's not your health they're worried about. Officials are trying to save trees.

The spotted lanternfly is a small, invasive species. Agriculture officials say egg-laying season for the bug is just starting and already, 13 counties in the state are under quarantine, including Schuylkill, Carbon, and Monroe.

Mark Heckman has an apple orchard in Effort, a Christmas tree business, too.

"I do worry about it because if it does happen to get into our Christmas trees or our orchard, as of now they don't really have no good way of containing it,” said Mark Heckman of Heckman Orchards.

The quarantine means certain products, like stone, wood, or crops cannot be moved out of those areas without a designated permit.

"There have been reports of organizations taking products outside of Pennsylvania and companies outside of Pennsylvania are turning that product away,” said Stephanie Shirk of Penn State Extension.

Harold Werkheiser has grown corn in the Tannersville area for more than 50 years.

He is not worried about his crops but says he has received a letter from agriculture experts about the spotted lanternfly.

"I don't grow anything they like, I hope. I'm in the sweet corn business, and that's all I can tell you I haven't seen a one here, but they were spotted in Scotrun right up the road,” said Werkheiser.

Last year, agriculture experts say there were mass migrations of spotted lanternflies in Pennsylvania.

The hope is that this quarantine will keep that from happening again.

"We've been tested here and certified and have a certificate you know there’s none currently on our farm, but they're being a lot more proactive on this insect than they have of other pests in the past,” said Heckman.

Spotted lanternflies leave dark trails along trees and can be killed using alcohol or hand sanitizer.

State officials say they are also doing tests this winter to determine other ways to get rid of them.

The best way to spot or find the bugs is by using a special sticky band on trees.

"You place them onto the tree and you pin them to the tree with push pins and then as the lanternfly moves up and down the tree, it gets stuck in the glue at which point, it dies," explained Don Seifrit with Penn State Extension Berks County.

State officials say they'll be doing special studies this winter to figure out the best chemical or alternative methods to eliminate the spotted lanternflies.

Check out WNEP's Power to Save segment on the spotted lanternfly here.

Click here for more information on Spotted Lanternflies from the Department of Agriculture.

For more information from Penn State Extension, head here.