Spotted Lanternfly Sightings in Pennsylvania Jump Fivefold Compared to Last Year
Statewide reports of spotted lanternfly sightings this year are up by nearly 500 percent compared to last year, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, writes Layla A. Jones for the Billy Penn.
From the beginning of January to the middle of July, Pennsylvania residents have reported 33,015 sightings of the invasive insect, compared to 5,603 for the same period last year. The largest share of these came from Philadelphia, followed by Delaware and Montgomery counties.
However, it is still unclear if the sharp uptick is proof of a more severe spotted lanternfly season or if it is the result of higher awareness among residents and more leisure time spent outside due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s a tremendous challenge to figure out whether it’s an increase in population or just an increase in awareness of the insect,” said the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture spokesperson Shannon Powers. “We know for a fact that awareness has increased.”
The department will probably not know what the potential uptick could be attributed to before next year since researches rely on data collected during the prime adult season for the insect, which is in fall.
Read more about spotted lanternfly at the Billy Penn by clicking here.
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