Penn State asks visitors to watch for, help stop spread of spotted lanternfly

September 28, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — With Penn State’s academic year and football season underway, thousands of students, families and fans are converging on Happy Valley, and the University wants to make sure they are not bringing with them an unwanted hitchhiker — the spotted lanternfly — a invasive pest that feeds on more than 70 types of plants.

First discovered in the U.S. in 2014 in Berks County, Pennsylvania, the pest has spread to 34 Pennsylvania counties, which make up Pennsylvania’s spotted lanternfly quarantine zone.

These counties are Allegheny, Beaver, Berks, Blair, Bucks, Cambria, Cameron, Carbon, Chester, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Mifflin, Monroe, Montgomery, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Philadelphia, Pike, Schuylkill, Wayne, Westmoreland and York.

SFL eggs on chair

Spotted lanternfly egg masses on a folding chair.

IMAGE: Liz Willow

Penn State is asking visitors, especially those coming from areas in which the spotted lanternfly is established, to take the following precautions before traveling:

  • Walk around your vehicle and check closely for any spotted lanternfly adults and/or nymphs; particularly check the windshield wiper area, bumpers and wheel wells. In fall and winter, also look for egg masses, which have the appearance of mud splatters. On RVs, check the roofs as well.
  • Check any piece of equipment or item that you will be transporting that has been outdoors in the quarantine area — such as grills, tents, tables or yard games.
  • Do not park your RV or other vehicles under trees in the quarantine zone. Always keep your windows up.
  • Check yourself before getting into any vehicle to make sure there are no spotted lanternfly nymphs or adults on you.
  • If you find a spotted lanternfly, destroy it immediately. And, if you see one outside of the quarantine zone, report it online at extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly or by phone at 888-4BADFLY.

“We are concerned that people may unknowingly spread this destructive insect during their travels,” said Julie Urban, research associate professor of entomology. “Citizens play an important role in helping to stop the spread of this pest while we work to find long-term management and control solutions.”

For more information about the spotted lanternfly, visit the Penn State Extension website.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated September 28, 2021