Penn State employees traveling in lanternfly quarantine zone must take training

August 27, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Stopping the spread of the spotted lanternfly, one of the most destructive pests to hit the U.S. in years, is a priority for Pennsylvania.

And it’s a priority at Penn State, too. With hundreds of employees traveling daily to and from the southeastern part of the state — the epicenter of the invasion — University officials want to make sure that employees are not inadvertently transporting the insect to unaffected regions.

“Containing this horrible insect while long-term management solutions are found is important, and every person in Pennsylvania plays a role,” said Lysa Holland, environmental compliance engineer in the Penn State Environmental Health and Safety office. “A small investment of time by our staff in learning how to help stop the spread of this pest will have a big impact.”

The spotted lanternfly is an invasive insect that first arrived in the U.S. in 2014 in Berks County, Pennsylvania. The planthopper, native to Asia, has the potential to harm Pennsylvania's economy by damaging crops, landscapes and natural ecosystems, including the grape, tree-fruit, hardwood and nursery industries, which collectively are worth $18 million.

So far, the insect has been contained to a state-imposed quarantine zone consisting of 14 counties — Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia and Schuylkill.

All Penn State employees whose work duties require travel to, from and within the quarantine zone must take an online class on the spotted lanternfly given in Cornerstone (https://lrn.psu.edu). Content was created by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture in partnership with Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

When traveling within or leaving the quarantine zone, these employees must do a quick inspection of the vehicle they are using and document it on an inspection log, Holland said.

This log and other related materials are part of spotted lanternfly kits, which are available from safety officers and/or spotted lanternfly designated employees in each college/unit. Those using a short-term fleet rental should request a spotted lanternfly kit when picking up the vehicle.

“Penn State has been at the forefront of the effort to stop the spotted lanternfly invasion, which could decimate Pennsylvania crops and trees,” said Penn State President Eric Barron. “I’m grateful that so many Penn Staters have already completed the training that is helping contain this invasive pest. I urge others traveling to quarantined regions to do the same. Thank you for taking this threat seriously.”

More information about Penn State procedures for implementing the spotted lanternfly quarantine can be found on the Environmental Health and Safety website at https://ehs.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly/overview.

To learn more about the spotted lanternfly, permitting regulations, management techniques and how to report a sighting, visit the Penn State Extension website at https://extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly.

 

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated August 27, 2019