The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) provides this update of spotted lanternfly (SLF) activities in Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, and Delaware. SLF feeds on more than 70 types of plants, including crops such as grapes, apples, hops, walnuts, and other hardwood trees. SLF suck sap from stems and leaves, damaging plants as they feed. APHIS and state cooperators continue to work together to assess the affected areas and implement a program response to detect, contain, and suppress SLF populations in order to reduce the pest’s spread.
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) first detected SLF in Berks County, Pennsylvania, in September 2014. Since 2014, SLF has spread to approximately 3,000 square miles in southeast Pennsylvania, including known populations in Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, and Schuylkill counties. In 2018, USDA provided emergency funding to support SLF response activities in Pennsylvania. APHIS and PDA are deploying an area-wide pest management strategy that includes surveillance, treatment and control, and outreach activities to reduce the pest population and spread.
In February 2018, APHIS confirmed a localized SLF infestation in Frederick County, Virginia. In summer 2018, APHIS confirmed SLF in Warren, Mercer, and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey, as well as in New Castle County, Delaware. APHIS is working with the departments of agriculture in Virginia, New Jersey, and Delaware to contain the infestations and treat the affected areas. In addition, APHIS confirmed isolated incidents of single SLF detections in New York and Maryland due to SLF traveling on non-agricultural material from infested areas.
APHIS and state partners are conducting SLF detection surveys in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia to monitor pest populations and detect new outbreaks outside known infested areas. A coordinated federal and state response, with industry and public support, is necessary to protect crops, forests, and residential landscapes from this pest. By attacking the pest on all fronts, we are maximizing the effectiveness of both locally applied and area-wide activities.