The spotted lanternflies have arrived, folks. This invasive insect native to southeast Asia has swarmed parts of the Lebanon County, putting some plant life in jeopardy.
These pests made their unwanted debut in Berks County — having arrived in a shipment of stone from Asia — back in 2014. Since then, they’ve set up shop in at least 14 Pennsylvania counties as well as being prevalent in New Jersey, Delaware, and Virginia (apparently they aren’t fans of Maryland).
They’re now being seen in Lebanon County, primarily in eastern municipalities, but we also saw reports from Bethel Township, Jonestown Borough, North Annville Township, North Lebanon Township, and other parts of the county. Until earlier this year, Lebanon County was the western edge of the quarantine zone, which was expanded to now include Dauphin County.
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is asking residents who see a spotted lanternfly to kill it, in hopes of someday eradicating the species from Pennsylvania.
Here at LebTown, we posted about the spotted lanternflies on Facebook, and comments started to roll in with people sharing their stories and photos of the pests.
One commenter says that where they live in Jackson Township, near the Berks County line, it’s been so bad that they killed 100 lanternflies in one day.
Another commentor shared their preferred method for killing lanternflies.
“Soak them good with dawn dish soap LIGHTLY dilute with warm water and use a spray bottle with an adjustable nozzle for a good stream. You will probably have to keep hitting them a few times after they leap from the first spray. IT DOES KILL THEM!!” they wrote.
Whether you prefer spraying them with some sort of home-made solution, stomping on them with your Nikes, or blasting them to smithereens with one of these bad boys, it’s important that if you see a spotted lanternfly you do your best John Wick impression and do away with it.
A meeting hosted by the Penn State Master Gardeners of Lebanon County will take place on October 3, and will provide information on how to identify spotted lanternflies and the impact that they are having locally. The meeting will be free to attend.
For more information from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, click here.