Invasive bug species threatens agriculture in Pennsylvania

September 19, 2019

The invasive spotted lanternfly, thought to have come to the U.S. in a shipment of stones from Asia around 2014, has descended upon Pennsylvania in the hundreds of thousands.

The lanternflies, which are about an inch long with spotted grey wings overlaying scarlet ones, are causing damage to the region’s vineyards and other crops, according to the New York Times. They are known to damage fruit yields and injure trees.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has responded by quarantining 14 counties. By restricting what can be taken in and out of the state, officials hope to prevent the spread of the insect to other parts of the country.

So far, the spotted lanternfly has also been spotted in New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, Virginia and Maryland.

In an effort to prevent the infestation from traveling further in coming years, scientists are searching for a suitable natural predator to introduce. Some counties have recommended the use of insecticides and herbicides in controlling the population of the pests.

Currently, residents of Philadelphia have been encouraged by state officials to crush the bugs on sight.

Invasive bug species threatens agriculture in Pennsylvania