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Spotted Lanternfly Experts Debunk Myths About The Pest


January 28, 2021

Pa. Dept. of Agriculture

The Spotted Lanternfly is an invasive planthopper native to Asia. It was first discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014 in Berks County and has spread to other counties across the Commonwealth. The SLF feeds on sap from myriad different plants with a strong preference for economically important plants including grapevines, maples, black walnut, birch and willow. Feeding damage significantly stresses the plants which can lead to decreased health and in some cases, death.

As the spotted lanternfly extension associate in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, Heather Leach often receives calls and emails from concerned citizens about the insect interloper.

Occasionally, she will hear stories or "myths" from them about management or the biology of the pest, an invasive planthopper that feeds on more than 70 species of plants, including agricultural and hardwood commodities.

"People who are dealing with spotted lanternfly are frustrated and worried," Leach said. "In their search for answers, they sometimes are willing to believe or try anything. But it'...

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