I get photos quite often from readers of my column and from clients of my business. I saw almost everything from birds and trees to mushrooms and fish. But when I got a particular bug photo last week, I was both excited and sad.
Avid local fisherman Dennis Osterrieder of Hopewell Township was fishing under the Dashields Dam on the Ohio River when he took the photo.
“It was a week ago, Thursday, when I was fishing along the rocks under the wing wall of Dashields Dam,” Osterrieder said. “I had gone the first two hours without biting when things turned around and I caught seven fish in thirty minutes.
“As I was sitting on the rocks staring at my canes waiting for the next bite, this bug landed on a rock right in front of me. I thought it might be one of those spotted lanterns so I took a picture. Unfortunately, the damn thing was gone before I had a chance to catch it.
The photo Osterrieder sent me was indeed an adult spotted lantern fly. I gave him a call to get the story back and said I would study it for him.
The spotted lantern fly is an invasive leafhopper native to Asia first discovered in Pennsylvania in Berks County in 2014.
The bedbug feeds on the sap of a myriad of plants, but has a strong preference for plants important to Pennsylvania’s economy, including vines, maples, black walnut, birch, and willow. Feeding damage from spotted lantern puts stress on plants, which can adversely affect their health and in some cases lead to plant death.
A 2019 economic impact study estimates that, left unchecked, this insect could cost the state $ 324 million per year and more than 2,800 jobs.
I reported the sighting to State College’s Penn State Co-Operative Extension at 1-888-4BADFLY. The Extension takes all reports and forwards them to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
While everyone should be on the lookout for the spotted lantern fly and report these sightings, companies operating in Pennsylvania are held by law to higher liability.
In Pennsylvania, a spotted lantern permit is required for businesses, agencies, and organizations working in the quarantine zone, which move regulated items such as products, vehicles, or other transportation into or out of the area. outside the quarantine area.
A permit is also required to move regulated articles into Pennsylvania from out-of-state areas with populations of spotted lanterns.
Beaver and Allegheny counties are both in the quarantine zone.
Next week, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture will conduct lantern fly permit audits and inspection records for businesses in Allegheny, Beaver and Westmoreland counties starting September 20.
Inspections will be conducted by the spotted fly compliance and enforcement team to ensure that companies operating or doing business in the quarantined counties are licensed. Businesses are responsible for maintaining a trained and engaged workforce. Violators of permit requirements are subject to a maximum of $ 300 per violation plus associated court costs.
The spotted lantern fly permit survey and inspection program aims to raise awareness of the value of quarantine compliance measures that help slow the spread of this invasive pest. Departmental canvassers will always show their Commonwealth ID card and ask to see proof of license in addition to inspection and training records.
For more information on Spotted Lanternfly, visit the Department of Agriculture website.
Mike Barcaskey can be contacted at [email protected]