People and businesses get used to life in spotted lanternfly quarantine zones

Paul Kurtz
June 19, 2019 - 4:49 pm
Spotted lanternfly

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is closely monitoring a spotted lanternfly quarantine that covers the entire Delaware Valley and parts of New Jersey and Delaware. 

State agriculture secretary Russell Redding says the quarantine has grown as the spotted lanternfly expands its territory.  

"We've gone from a municipality to a county to three, nine, to, this year, 14 counties." Redding said. 

That includes Philadelphia and all surrounding counties.

A 15th may soon be added. Lanternflies were spotted in York County this week for the first time.  

Here's how the quarantine works: any business that moves products within and out of a quarantine zone must have a permit.  

Redding says the state has issued about 800,000 permits so far.  

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"We have authority to ask business, 'have you done the permitting, are you moving product across state lines, were you moving it with the appropriate sort of oversight,'" he added. 

That includes AAA mid-Atlantic, where spokeswoman Kathleen Zinszer says service vehicle drivers have been trained to be vigilant.

"Depending on the service in the quarantined area, the exterior of the service vehicle must be checked thoroughly after each stop and if the members' vehicle is to be towed, that vehicle must also be checked thoroughly prior to towing the vehicle," she explained. 

The lanternfly has a tendency to latch onto vehicles, so people living in or traveling to quarantine zones (that would be most of us) are supposed to inspect their cars, trucks and trailers and kill any lanternflies they find. 

The department offers a checklist for residents to go through before heading out that includes recreational or outdoor items such as balls, backpacks and tents; outdoor household items like firewood, propane tanks and shutters; building materials, yard and garden items and children's playthings. 

The spotted lanternfly has caused a lot of damage since migrating to Pennsylvania from Asia around five years ago. It goes after a variety of plants and trees but poses a major threat to vineyards, fruit trees and lumber.