Spotted lanternfly eggs about to hatch in Southwestern Pennsylvania

Spotted lanternfly eggs will be hatching in Southwestern Pennsylvania any day now, and experts are advising community members to be vigilant about preventing their spread.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, “any efforts you make in destroying the Spotted Lanternfly or its egg masses help reduce populations on your property and in your community.”

Sightings can be reported to the department by calling 1-888-4BAD-FLY (1-888-422-3359).

Amy Korman, an educator with Penn State Extension, said it’s particularly important to report sightings within areas that aren’t commonly known to have the invasive pests.

Korman said it can be more challenging to spot the eggs, which have the appearance of a “splotch of mud” or “brown silly puddy.” The eggs are often well camouflaged, particularly on trees.

Korman said it’s important that people avoid moving spotted lanternflies to new areas.

“If you’re traveling somewhere, check to make sure you’re not carrying them with you,” she said. “That vigilance against moving them is probably one of the most important things that people can do.”

Penn State Extension offers a “management guide” with a variety of information, including how to make a trap.

Korman said there is still a lot to be discovered and understood about the pests, and it’s too early to know what the population will look like this year.

While experts encourage you to kill the bugs when possible, she noted that a single squash isn’t going to solve the problem.

“That alone is not really going to control the population, in fact, we don’t really have every effective area-wide management control measures,” Korman told us. “But, again, the only good one is a dead one!”

After our report aired, the PA Dept. of Agriculture sent Channel 11 the latest data on confirmed reports of hatching lanternflies.

As of May 18, there were confirmed reports at 54 locations in 18 PA counties. Two confirmed reports were from Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties. As for public, unconfirmed reports, 97 have been made in Allegheny County, 3 have been made in Butler County, and 12 have been made in Westmoreland County.

“Crews from the department are actively searching for hatched insects across the state,” the spokesperson said. “There is no way to predict the patterns or number of infestations likely in any given location. They have been inconsistent from year to year, with insects not returning where they previously were numerous, and returning in force in other locations.”

Find info on how to report and control lanternflies as well as images of lanternflies at every stage of development at agriculture.pa.gov/spottedlanternfly.

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