If you’re like most people, you probably have never heard of a Spotted Lanternfly. It doesn’t sound dangerous, right? Wrong.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, a Spotted Lanternfly is an invasive planthopper native to China, India and Vietnam. It not only has the potential to greatly impact agricultural crops but also trees.
Although it was first detected in Pennsylvania in 2014, the Spotted Lanternfly has spread to Delaware, New York and Virginia. Consequently, surrounding states are stepping up efforts to stop its spread.
Unfortunately, this pesky pest has affected truck drivers with routes in these states. That’s because parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Virginia are under quarantine. Carriers must fill out a checklist before moving any of the following types of items:
- Trees, shrubs and plants
- Building materials (brick, block)
- Camping equipment
- Outdoor furniture and household Items
As a result of the quarantine, truck drivers picking up or delivering freight in these areas must acquire a permit. The permit certifies that the driver has received training to recognize the Spotted Lanternfly and help stop the spread of it.
If you think you’re out of the woods stopping for gas or food in one of these areas, think again. The training to identify a Spotted Lanternfly could help you aid in reducing its spread, even at a truck stop. Plus, you can ensure you’re not responsible for the transfer of this dangerous pest to new counties and even states.
Following are tips on how to identify Spotted Lanternflies:
- Adults are approximately 1” long and 1/2” wide. Their forewings appear gray with distinctive black-spotted and brick-like patterns. The hindwings are black at the tips and deep rose-red near the body, separated by a wide band of white. Legs and head are black; the abdomen is yellow with broad black bands.
- Newly hatched, wingless nymphs are black with white dots; after several molts they turn bright red with black dots before morphing into winged adults.
- Spotted Lanternfly egg masses measure approximately 1” long. Fresh ones look like patches of encrusted mud; in old ones you can see vertical rows of seed-like egg cases.
Inspections and Identification
Multiple states, even those without a quarantine, have been increasingly utilized roadside inspectors trained to recognize and control Spotted Lanternflies. Even if you’re not knowingly carrying the bug, your truck could be temporarily delayed or out of service if it is found to be contaminated. Delays like this not only put you behind schedule but also can be costly for the company for which you work.
If you don’t have a permit or are found to be transporting the Spotted Lanternfly or even its eggs, whether knowingly or not, you may be fined anywhere from $300 to $20,000. You also may be hit with civil penalties.
If you find any Spotted Lanternflies, take one or more of the following steps:
- Report it to the hotline at 1-833-223-2840 (BADBUG0).
- If you find egg masses, scrape them off, double bag them and throw them away. You can also place the eggs into alcohol or hand sanitizer to kill them.
- Report all destroyed egg masses to your state’s Department of Agriculture. If you live outside the known infestation area, you should collect specimens in a vial or Ziploc bag and submit them to your state’s Department of Agriculture or your extension agent for verification.
- Take a picture and submit it to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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