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Summit Hill to helps wage lanternfly war

Summit Hill Borough Council has agreed to help the U.S. Department of Agriculture wage war against the invasive spotted lanternfly, which has become prevalent in the region during the past year or two.

The council agreed to allow the department to utilize herbicide or other chemical applications on trees in the borough’s parks in an effort to kill the pesky plant-hoppers.

The unanimous action of the council came after receiving a letter from Tammy L. Craig, supervisor plant protection and quarantine officer for the Department of Agriculture

Craig wrote in the letter, “Please be advised that this pest has the potential to impact the quality of life in your community. It will feed on a range of different trees that may be in your yard or along the roadside.”

Because of the risk to agricultural crops, Carbon County is one of 14 counties in Pennsylvania with a quarantine in place to prevent the human-assisted movement of the pest. Craig says the spotted lanternfly travels very easily by clinging to vehicles and materials that have been stored outside.

Other counties in the quarantine area include Schuylkill, Monroe, Lehigh, Northampton and all the counties in the southeastern corner of the state.

Council President Mike Kokinda said of the state’s proposal, “I think that’s a good idea.”

He said Ludlow Park and the Ginder Field are the areas proposed for spraying.

Craig said in her letter that small trees will receive treatment with triclopyr herbicide so the lanternflies will die. Large trees will be treated with dinotefuran insecticide so that spotted lanternfly will continue to feed on this primary host. In turn, the pest will ingest the chemical application.

She wrote, “Significant kill has been observed in nearby areas where heavy infestation by the sap-sucking spotted lanternfly has occurred. The results of these treatments are encouraging. Research and regulation provide for proper application of these chemicals in order to see results.”

Craig said there is no cost to the borough for the spraying.

The spotted lanternfly is present in China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam. In 2014, the insect was first detected in the United States in Pennsylvania.

Since then, spotted lanternfly infestations have been detected in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia.

The spotted lanternfly lays its eggs on smooth host plant surfaces as well as on bricks, stones and dead plants. Eggs hatch in the spring and early summer. Adults appear in late July and tend to focus their feeding on trees.