A PHD student told me previously, the key to this problem is managing the population of the Spotted Lanternfly, since it would be a challenge to exterminate it outright.
The State Agriculture Secretary shares the same sense of seriousness this invasive species poses.
The Spotted Lanternfly has spread to nine states and 45 Pennsylvania Counties, since then. The counties in our region under quarantine for the bug are Blair, Cambria, Cameron, Centre, Bedford, and Huntingdon.
And one of those people learning more about the Spotted Lanternfly is Anne Johnson.
She’s getting her PHD in Entomology from Penn State and has spent years looking into this species. She tells me how these critters wreak havoc on agriculture, one of the state’s most vital industries.
Johnson’s been working on a Spotted Lanternfly Project for a while now.
“So, the project I’m doing right now is looking into predators of spotted Lanternfly here in North America, in the United States.”
And she says that to learn how to manage a population, you have to know the subject’s predators.
“What we’re hoping to get out of my project is by knowing what predators feed on spotted Lanternfly that can actually help us somewhat in developing management strategies called biological control, which is where you manage a pest through, um, uh, it’s through predators and things like diseases and living things, um, to help control your populations. So, with my project, once we know what is feeding on spotted Lanternfly here, we can do things like modify
landscaping and habitats to encourage those predators. And then they’ll bring our spotted lantern fly populations down.”
You can help by submitting reports of a predator you see feeding on Spotted Lantern Fly, where it was, and what sort of behaviors it displays while feeding.