POLK TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is now requiring businesses and farms that work in spotted lanternfly quarantine zones to have a permit to move equipment.
People who work in these areas have to take a training class in order to get a permit.
There are 14 counties that are considered quarantine zones by the state Department of Agriculture.
Monroe, Carbon and Schuylkill Counties are on that list.
The two-hour training is free, and it teaches farmers and business owners how to comply with the quarantine.
Starting May 1, businesses, including farmers, who work and move equipment in and out of spotted lanternfly quarantine zones will need a permit and it must be placed in all company vehicles.
In order to get one, you'll need to take a two-hour training course and pass a test.
People took part in a training session on Thursday at the Polk Township Volunteer Fire Department.
"It's very informational," said farm owner Heidi Secord. "I think people throughout Monroe County and in this area really need to be educated about what it is and it can be really serious."
The spotted lanternfly is native to Asia and has now made its way to counties in our area including Carbon, Monroe, and Schuylkill. It can destroy crops such as grapes and hops. That's why the Department of Agriculture has issued a quarantine for 14 counties where the spotted lanternfly has shown up.
Members of Penn State Extension host the free training and also offer it for free online.
"They are learning how to identify the stages of spotted lanternfly, which stages of spotted lanternfly are the most susceptible to movement throughout the commonwealth or out of state, also how to prepare their employees or other folks in their business for training them on how to minimize the spread of spotted lanternfly," explained Dwane Miller, Penn State Extension.
Homeowners don't need to have a permit, just farms and businesses that go in and out of the quarantine areas, and that includes Newswatch 16.
Mark Siekierka owns Siekierka Landscape in Scranton. Even though Lackawanna County is not on the quarantine list, Siekierka still needed to get trained because he has clients in Monroe County.
"We do not want to be a transporter of that and it could be as simple as a quick walk around the truck, inspect your vehicle, inspect what you're moving and get rid of the insects on the vehicle. It's as easy as that," Siekierka said.
Businesses and farms in the 14-county quarantine zone have until May 1 to get a permit. You can still get one after the May 1 deadline for free online, but officials say you may risk a fine if you're caught without one.
Only one person within your company needs to take the training and test.