Forbes: Harleysville Teen Wins $10,000 Lemelson Award for Spotted Lanternfly Invention

Ken Knickerbocker

Fourteen-year-old Rachel Bergey of Harleysville has won the $10,000 Lemelson Award for her spotted lanternfly invention that shows promise for dealing with the invasive pest, writes Kevin Anderton for the Forbes.

Bergey is one of the five girls who took top spots at the Broadcom MASTERS National STEM Competition, making this the first year in the competition’s history when all the winners are girls.

Bergey’s invention focuses on dealing with the insect that has been harming various plants in Pennsylvania causing millions in damage to the state’s agriculture.

She was inspired to think of a solution when thousands of lanternflies invaded her family’s maple trees. So she created a trap that captures the insects as they climb the tree trunks.

Once the bugs ascend, they climb over a foil layer that funnels them into a small tunnel which guides them into a bag of netting. Once the insects are in the netting, they are trapped.

The Asia-native insects “are most likely the largest economic threat facing Pennsylvania today, and thousands of them have invaded my family’s maple trees,” said Bergey.

She is now hoping her invention will help make an impact on this issue.

Read more about Rachel Bergey at the Forbes by clicking here.