Egg Masses: September – May
Spotted Lanternfly Swarming Behavior
Spotted Lanternfly, having grown into adults after storing up the summer warmth and energy, are beginning to swarm. In areas of heavy populations, thousands of the invasive insect will gather in masse on trees, houses and other tall structures, to launch themselves into the wind and glide, looking for food and a safe place to lay their eggs. This intense flurry of activity comes as the cooling weather informs the lanternfly that the time has come to prepare for the next generation. While lanternfly do not pose a danger to humans, this display disrupts outdoor activity and will cause many to retreat indoors.
These swarming events also give researchers a good idea of where large populations might exist today, and where egg masses will likely be found in the winter months. Reporting these swarms via the Public Reporting Tool will aid researchers and treatment staff alike; both to pinpoint areas for study and to target areas to treat next season.
Why should you report Spotted Lanternfly?
In 2019, more than 90,000 reports were made to the PA Department of Agriculture’s Public Reporting Tool, hosted by Penn State Extension, with the majority coming in after the Spotted Lanternfly adults appeared, and peaking during the September swarm. In 2020, we have seen a 50-80% increase in the number of early season reports compared to 2019. But what does the PA Department of Agriculture and their partners do with these reports and the data associated with them?
As noted above, one way this reporting data is used is to help determine where large populations of lanternfly exist, and where we can expect to find their egg masses. By asking the public to report the approximate numbers of lanternfly they see we can begin to get a true idea of the size of populations over an area. The Department of Agriculture also closely follows up on reports outside the known quarantine areas to find new populations, determine pathways for spread and improve our prediction models for where Spotted Lanternfly might be found next.
Please note that most people who report a Spotted Lanternfly sighting will not be contacted. The data provided is used to help the Pennsylvania Spotted Lanternfly Program partners better understand this invasive pest.
By having Commonwealth residents’ support in reporting Spotted Lanternfly, we can work together to slow the spread of this invasive insect!
Businesses play an important role in stopping Spotted Lanternfly spread
We need everyone to protect their properties, communities, and the Commonwealth from this invasive insect that has the potential to change our landscape and quality of life. Businesses play an important role. Business owners should incorporate pest control into their vegetation management plans and work to minimize the possibility of this insect hitching a ride on vehicles or in products.
All agricultural and non-agricultural businesses located or working within the quarantine, which move products, vehicles or other conveyances within or from the quarantine are required to have a SLF Permit. Visit the SLF Quarantine & Permitting page for permitting program information and industry best management practices.
Meet the Latest Member of the Pennsylvania Spotted Lanternfly Team
The Bureau of Plant Industry would like to welcome our newest Compliance and Enforcement Team member: Lucky. She will be working with Shane Philipps, SLF Program Specialist, to inspect regulated articles for SLF.
Bred by Alberdon Shepherds, Lucky is named in honor of K9 Lucky (Handler Steve DeStefanis) who was part of Tennessee Task Force One, a FEMA Urban Search and Rescue response team. This team deployed to the Pentagon following the attacks of 9/11. At 8 weeks old, Lucky was donated to the PennVet Working Dog Center and immediately began her training. Lucky’s training included scent detection, drive building, fitness, agility, obedience and Spotted Lanternfly egg mass detection.
Dogs have 50-times more scent receptors than humans do and the part of their brains that analyzes smell is 40-times greater. They also have an additional organ and nasal structure differences that enhance their scenting ability. These extreme olfactory enhancements make canines the ultimate detection tool.
The Compliance and Enforcement Team plan to put Lucky’s skills to the test in a variety of situations such as roadside stops and industrial property and goods inspections. We expect Lucky will be able to sniff out SLF egg masses and other life stages that humans might overlook. We are excited to welcome her and know she will become an indispensable part of our team.
Spotted lanternfly task force brings together expertise of scientists, agencies
Since its unwelcome arrival in Pennsylvania several years ago, the spotted lanternfly has been eating away at agricultural commodities, landscapes and the commonwealth’s bottom line.
Putting an end to the pest’s feast is the charge of the Cooperative Spotted Lanternfly Program in Pennsylvania. The task force, which has been meeting since the initial pest sightings, includes scientists and extension specialists from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences and government regulatory officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, referred to as APHIS.
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture | 2301 N. Cameron Street | Harrisburg, PA 17110