Penn Vet Adds a Dog’s Nose to Arsenal of Weapons Against the Dreaded Spotted Lanternfly

David Bjorkgren
Ferreting out lanternfly eggs. Image via NBC10.

Man’s Best Friend is joining the front lines in the spotted lanternfly battle, reports the 6abc staff and Christie Ileto for

The dogs come from a pilot training program at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. Three dogs participated in the five-month study.

Unhatched lanternfly eggs are difficult to find and odorless to humans, but dogs can sniff them out before they hatch.

In the study, dogs were rewarded when they sniffed lanternfly eggs put in front of them.

“Then you make the game more difficult. You add distracting odors, hide more eggs in more difficult places and train them for whatever scenario,” said Dr. Jennifer Essler, a postdoctoral researcher helping to lead the pilot project.

The dogs so far have a 95 percent accuracy rate.

The canine detectives will be unleashed in the winter months, when lanternfly eggs are laid.

Lucky, an 18-month-old German Shepherd will go to work for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

The lanternfly is a threat to agriculture, destroying trees, hops, grapes and other crops. For the second year, the invasive pest has attacked agriculture in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

Read more about lanternfly egg-sniffing dogs here.

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