Penn State asks visitors to help 'stop the spread' of spotted lanternfly
The start of the academic year and football season brings thousands of students, families and fans to University Park, and Penn State wants to make sure those visitors are not chauffeuring a certain unwanted guest - the spotted lanternfly, a destructive insect that is threatening the agricultural, timber and ornamental industries in southeastern Pennsylvania.
So far, the insect has been contained to a quarantine zone consisting of 14 counties -- Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia and Schuylkill -- and those on the frontlines of combating the pest want to keep it that way.
Penn State is asking visitors, especially those coming from southeastern Pennsylvania, to take the following precautions before traveling:
- Walk around your vehicle and check closely for any spotted lanternfly adults and/or nymphs; particularly check the windshield wiper area, bumpers and wheel wells. In fall and winter, also look for egg masses, which have the appearance of mud splatters. On RVs, check the roofs as well.
- Check any piece of equipment or item that you will be transporting that has been outdoors in the quarantine area -- such as grills, tents, tables or yard games.
- Do not park your RV or other vehicles under trees in the quarantine zone. Always keep your windows up.
- Check yourself before getting into any vehicle to make sure there are no spotted lanternfly nymphs or adults on you.
"With the influx of visitors to campus this time of the year, we are concerned that they may unknowingly spread the insect during their travels," said Heather Leach, Penn State's spotted lanternfly extension associate. "Keeping the spotted lanternfly from invading other parts of the state and beyond is imperative while we work toward developing long-term management and control solutions. Citizens play an important role in helping to stop the spread of this pest."
For more information about the spotted lanternfly, visit the Penn State Extension website.