About the Spotted Lanternfly
The spotted lanternfly (SLF) is a new invasive insect that has the potential to be very harmful to the environment, which is why the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) established a quarantine where the insect already exists. As a result of the quarantine, effective as of May 1, 2019, certain counties in the states of Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware and New Jersey now require drivers to have a spotted lanternfly permit with them while over the road. This permit ensures that the businesses and employees are checking for spotted lanternfly before they travel.
A native to Southern Asia, this insect was first detected in North America in 2014 and has since become classified as an invasive species. Since its arrival to the United States, specifically northeastern states like Pennsylvania, the spotted lanternfly, poses a significant threat to the state’s agricultural industry specifically in the grape, tree-fruit, hardwood and nursery sectors, which are worth nearly $18 billion to the states economy.
Spotted lanternflies feed on the sap of a plant and will feed on over 70 different varieties. When the lanternfly eats on a plant it gives off a sugar-water substance on the site which usually causes the growth of black sooty mold. While this mold is not harmful to humans, it damages plants and can make outside recreation areas unusable.
Effect on Truck Drivers
Since they lay eggs on almost any surface, including vehicles like rail cars and trailers, as well as outdoor equipment and patio furniture, the pest is easily spread by people. Hence the new quarantine and permits.
Now, drivers who travel into the quarantined states and counties must be more cautious. One easy way to ensure you are not transporting the spotted lanternfly is to look over your truck and trailer before you travel within or out of the quarantine zone. Also be sure to check your belongings and yourself for spotted lanternfly! If you do find the lanternfly or some of its eggs please do the following:
- Destroy mobile stages of SLF by crushing them.
- Destroy eggs by smashing them or scraping them into a container of rubbing alcohol.
The permit that drivers are always required to carry with them while over the road ensures that you are checking for the spotted lanternfly before you travel. A permit is the evidence stating that training has been completed and yourself and your business understands the importance of the quarantine order and you agree to do everything your truck, self and products are not carrying the spotted lanternfly. Keep in mind, the regulations put in place is to prevent this invasive insect species from being spread by people. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has the authority to fine anyone who willfully violates the quarantine order.
Drive safe and keep an eye out for the Spotted Lanternfly!
Blog resource – Penn State Extension