Death of the Spotted Lanternfly
You’ve likely never heard of this multi-colored moth, and Agricultural Department officials want to keep it that way. The bug has decimated the ash tree in parts of Michigan, and destroyed millions of these trees around the country.
In Pennsylvania, the Lanternfly has been spotted, and officials are working hard to make it nothing more than a memory. Russell Redding, Pennsylvania Agricultural Secretary, is on a mission to wipe out this pest before it does damage to the state’s fruit trees, pines and hardwoods.
“As we know from a little of the history of this pest, it is very adaptable," he said. "There are 65 different hosts, 25 that are actually grown or can grow in Pennsylvania. So we have a lot to deal with here.”
Farmers as well as the loggers could be affected, and the economic threat is potentially in the millions of dollars in Pennsylvania alone. The state Agricultural Department is working with two universities – Penn State and Kutztown University – to conduct research the insect. In addition, the department will use two other important weapons in their battle to eradicate this insect: education of the public and quarantine of certain areas in the state.
The US Department of Agriculture is firmly behind Pennsylvania’s efforts, providing resources to make Pennsylvania the land “where the spotted Lanternfly died,” according to USDA official Kevin Shea.