UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The looming threat posed by the invasive spotted lanternfly will take center stage in the College of Agricultural Sciences Exhibits Building and Theatre during Penn State’s Ag Progress Days, Aug. 14-16.
Displays and presentations in the building also will highlight programs related to pond management and bait-fish production, hemp research, animal health, and agricultural policy.
Now in 13 Pa. counties. Native to Asia, the spotted lanternfly was found for the first time in the United States in Berks County in 2014 and since has spread throughout 13 counties in southeastern Pennsylvania — a region that the state Department of Agriculture has designated as a quarantine zone.
The pest also has been found in Virginia and, most recently, in New Jersey.
The planthopper feeds on sap, weakening plants and leaving behind a sugary excrement called honeydew, which promotes the growth of sooty mold — further harming the plant — while attracting other insects and creating a sticky mess that can render outdoor areas unusable.
The pest threatens Pennsylvania’s grape, tree fruit, hardwood and nursery industries, which collectively are worth about $18 billion to Pennsylvania’s economy.
“Because this is the first population of spotted lanternfly outside Asia, it’s difficult to assess the magnitude of the threat it presents, but it is potentially the worst introduced insect pest since the arrival of the gypsy moth nearly 150 years ago,” said Rick Roush, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences.
Update at Ag Progress
Roush will co-host a spotted lanternfly update with Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding in the College Exhibits Building Theatre at 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 14.
Other presentations will focus on the pest: Aug. 14, noon; and Aug. 16, at 1 p.m.
Visitors to the building also can speak with Penn State experts, learn how to identify the various life stages of spotted lanternfly, and find out how they can help contain and manage lanternfly infestations.
Ask the experts
Other topics featured in the College Exhibits Building, on Main Street at the Ag Progress Days site, will include the following:
- Experts from Penn State’s Department of Ecosystem Science and Management will share information about how to establish a successful bait-fish production operation.
- Penn State’s Veterinary Extension Team will address mineral supplementation, antibiotic stewardship and managing reproductive health issues to promote healthy animals and identify the financial benefits to the farm.
- What is the Potential for Industrial Hemp in Pennsylvania? Specialists will share the current legal status of the crop and current production techniques that have proven effective in the field.
- Where can your education take you? Did you know there are more job openings in agriculture and related fields each year than qualified graduates to fill them? Prospective students and their families can visit with representatives from the Undergraduate Education Office to learn about College of Agricultural Sciences programs.
- Shirts for Scholars. Visitors can purchase an Ag Progress Days or College of Agricultural Sciences shirt, with proceeds benefiting programs for scholars. Collectible Penn State Dairymen’s Club milk bottles also will be available.