Pennsylvania Agriculture Department to Lanternflies on the Move: ‘No Hitchhiking!’

Lanternfly transport across state lines
Image via Lance Cheung at United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

In its strategy to slow the spotted lanternfly infestation, Pennsylvania is using a pesticide to deter the buggers from latching onto vehicles heading into the state, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer

Crews armed with backpack sprayers and truck-mounted spray equipment are focusing on railways, interstates, and other transportation rights-of-way. The tactic is meant to kill lanternflies that attach vehicles leaving infested areas. 

The insecticide’s active ingredient, bifenthrin, is highly toxic to both fish and bees. As a result, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture will refrain from spraying near water or flowering plants. In addition, it is monitoring remediation impacts through regular environmental sampling. 

“Spotted lanternflies threaten our quality of life outdoors and destroy valuable products that feed our economy,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said in a statement. “We are working diligently and strategically to control this pest in ways that are safe for the people, pollinators, plants, and animals that share the environment it threatens.” 

Spraying is currently underway in southeastern and south-central Pennsylvania. Thirty-four counties are now under a goods quarantine that blocks the transport of salable items into those areas without a permit. 

Read more about spotted lanternflies in The Philadelphia Inquirer

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