Cooperative Spotted Lanternfly Program Consolidates State Efforts to Fight Invasive Insect

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Nina Jenkins, senior research associate in entomology in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, inspects a monitoring band for spotted lanternflies. Image via Brian Walsh, Penn State News.

The Cooperative Spotted Lanternfly Program in Pennsylvania is bringing together state scientists and experts to find ways to combat the invasive insect, writes Amy Duke for the Penn State News.

If not contained, the Asia-native bug could drain the state economy by at least $324 million annually as well as causing around 2,800 job losses.

The task force has been meeting since the pest was first sighted in Pennsylvania.

It is comprised of scientists and specialists from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences along with government regulatory officials from the state Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Each partner has specific responsibilities. Research and education efforts are being led by the college and its Penn State Extension.

Meanwhile, state and federal agriculture departments are dealing with the operations and regulatory work, such as treating properties along high-volume transportation corridors.

All partners are included in outreach to inform citizens and businesses about the insect.

“Our collective goal is to slow the spread of the spotted lanternfly, suppress populations, and eradicate them where possible,” said Melanie Pickel, supervisory plant protection and quarantine officer for USDA-APHIS.

Read more about spotted lanternfly at the Penn State News by clicking here.

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