Spotted Lanternfly discovered in Delaware County

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Spotted Lanternfly discovered in Delaware County. Christie Ileto reports during Action News at 9 a.m. on September 16, 2018.

State officials have issued a warning about an invasive insect that's spreading throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania.

The Spotted Lanternfly was recently discovered in Delaware County. Officials say it was first spotted in Berks County four years ago.

The insect, which is native to Asia, poses a significant threat to the state's agriculture.

"Orchards, wineries, hardwood and nursery industries across the county could be impacted," Delaware County Council Chairman John McBlain said in statement. "We want to make residents aware of the threat and inform them about the best ways to control the population. While they don't pose a health risk, they do present a threat to Delaware County's and the state's agricultural businesses."

Officials say the Spotted Lanternfly attacks fruit trees, and feeds on the sap in trunks, branches, twigs and leaves. As it digests the sap, the insect excretes a substance. There may be a buildup of the sticky fluid on infested plants and on the ground below. The sap also provides a medium for growth of fungi, such as sooty mold, which can cover leaf surfaces and stunt growth. Plants with heavy infestations may not survive.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has issued a quarantine for areas that have been confirmed to harbor the Spotted Lanternfly. The counties that have been quarantined are Berks, Bucks, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, and Schuylkill.

Delaware County's Department of Intercommunity Health, the Delaware County Conservation District and the Penn State Extension are planning to hold a meeting in the coming months for residents and business owners on how to control the spread.

More information on the Spotted Lanternfly can be found:
www.extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly
www.agriculture.pa.gov/spottedlanternfly
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