Penn State plans lanternfly webinar

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Spotted lanternfly
An adult spotted lanternfly with its wings closed. At about 1 inch long, they are found July to December. Photo credit: Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The public is invited to hear the latest on the spotted lanternfly during a Penn State Extension webinar — “Spotted Lanternfly Update 2020: How We Are Fighting It and What You Need to Know” — planned for noon, May 5.

Emelie Swackhamer, horticulture extension educator based in Montgomery County, will describe the situation that has been unfolding in Pennsylvania and surrounding states over the last five years. She will discuss management options, explain regulations in place to slow the pest’s spread and give an overview of current research.

The spotted lanternfly is an invasive insect from Asia that first was found in North America in Berks County, Pennsylvania, in 2014. The pest since has spread to at least 26 Pennsylvania counties, as well as to New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

Economists warn that this insect, if not contained, could drain Pennsylvania’s economy of at least $324 million annually and cause the loss of about 2,800 jobs. At risk are $18 billion worth of agricultural commodities — including grapes, tree fruit, nursery plants and hardwood lumber — as well as natural habitats, parks and backyards.

To register for the webinar, visit attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4509353777787557134. More information about the spotted lanternfly, the state-imposed quarantine in Pennsylvania, management techniques and how to report a sighting is available on the Penn State Extension website at extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly.

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