Last week in Harrisburg, a specialist from the PA Department of Agriculture demonstrated how homeowners can use a circle trap to eliminate large numbers of destructive Spotted Lanternflies without harming beneficial pollinators or small animals.
“Lanternflies are here, and anyone who lives in an infested area knows what a nuisance they are,” said Jay Losiewicz, a specialist whose job involves managing staff working in the field to control the invasive pest. Circle traps are inexpensive to buy, easy to make with items you may have around the house and very effective.
“If you’re unlucky enough to have them on your property, this is one way you can help get rid of them and keep them from spreading. Trap or squish as many as you can at home, but don’t forget to check your car before you leave so you don’t take them with you.”
According to estimates based on current temperatures, lanternflies are approximately 50% hatched in the southernmost counties that have known insect populations in Pennsylvania, with the southeast being slightly farther along. The invasive pest will be active and will reproduce and spread until fall frosts.
PennState Extension’s website includes instructions for making your own circle trap, using easily obtainable items, including plastic milk jugs, duct tape, screen wire, twine, hot glue and gallon-sized food-storage bags. Traps can also be purchased through agriculture and nursery supply stores.
In March, the state’s quarantine to control the insect expanded to 34 counties. The eight new counties have isolated insect populations, rather than widespread infestations.
Quick, aggressive treatment of newly identified lanternfly populations in Pennsylvania has been funded through the Rapid Response Disaster Readiness line of Governor Wolf’s Pennsylvania Farm Bill for the past two years. The 2021-22 PA Farm Bill proposes another $2 million to combat Spotted Lanternfly, plus an extra $1 million for fast response in the event of another agricultural disaster.
Businesses that operate in or travel through quarantined counties are required to obtain a Spotted Lanternfly permit. Homeowners with questions about treatment are encouraged to contact their local Penn State Extension office or learn about management, including approved sprays, online. Pennsylvanians who live inside the quarantine zone should also review and sign the Compliance Checklist for residents.
Since 2015, the department has received more than $34 million to combat Spotted Lanternfly in Pennsylvania, including $20 million in federal funds and another $14 million in state investment. The department also awarded more than $260,000 in January for four priority research projects.
For more information on Spotted Lanternfly, visit agriculture.pa.gov/spottedlanternfly. For more about Governor Tom Wolf’s PA Farm Bill and its investments in a sustainable agriculture industry visit agriculture.pa.gov/pafarmbill.