POTTSVILLE, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A county in our region is the latest to be added to the quarantine list for Spotted Lanternflies.
The bug, traditionally from Asia, made it’s way to Pennsylvania about two years ago. Experts are calling the Spotted Lanternfly a “bad bug” because it’s invasive and has no natural predators here.
As of this month, Schuylkill County has been added to the quarantined area. Now, local agriculture experts are giving the public suggestions to squash these bugs.
“It could be a disaster for us,” said local farmer, Bernard Gustus.
Gustus is just hearing about Spotted Lanternflies crossing county lines.
“I’m concerned,” said Gustus.
At this point, the bugs have already been in Schuylkill County for long enough to lay their eggs. Agriculture experts want to make the public aware that they can help reduce the spotted lanternfly population.
“Our goal right now is to make folks aware of what those egg masses look like,” said Susan Hyland, with Penn State Cooperative Extension in Pottsville.
Here’s what you should look for. You’ll find these egg masses on trees, and on other outdoor items; like your car, grill, lawn furniture or the side of your house.
“Scrape them, squash them, spray them or sticky them,” said Hyland.
When you find eggs, take a knife or a credit card and scrape them off the surface into a ziplock bag. Fill that ziplock with hand sanitzer or alcohol to kill the eggs. Hyland says if you leave the eggs on the ground, they can still hatch.
In the spring when you see the bugs flying around… Kill them.
One way to keep them away from your home and yard, spray an insecticide made for leaf hoppers, with active ingredients like these: dinotefuran, imidacloprid, carbaryl and bifenthrin.
You can also get sticky bands to put around your trees, to catch the bugs.
“I hope the effort is taken to eradicate them,” said Gustus.
“Right now, people are the best control measure,” said Hyland.
She says some future control measures could include overhead spraying, but until that’s regulated, she hopes Mother Nature will help out. Hyland says a few predators are starting to pop up, like the praying mantis.
If you see these eggs, or see the bug itself, you’re asked to report it to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. By reporting it, you’re helping the state track the spread of these insects.