Expanded spotted lanternfly quarantine to include county north of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal.
Delaware Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday that they expanded the spotted lanternfly quarantine to include all portions of New Castle County north of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, according to a press release from DDA.
The department said there have been recent detections of established populations outside of the initial quarantine zone that was created in February that included 11 zipcodes in New Castle County.
Michael T. Scuse, secretary of agriculture for Delaware, said in the release that the state was required to expand the quarantine after many reports of the lanternflies at original and new sites from residents over the past two weeks.
“This expansion is necessary in our attempt to eradicate, control, and prevent the spread of spotted lanternfly in Delaware and to surrounding states,” Scuse said.
DDA inspectors and United States Department of Agriculture contractors treated more than 19,000 trees across 130 properties in the initial quarantine zone, Scuse said in the press release.
The spotted lanternfly is a destructive invasive plant hopper that attacks many hosts including trees, shrubs, orchards, grapes and hops. The eggs appear as a white mass and have a mud covering.
In September, female spotted lanternflies usually lay several egg masses of 30 to 50 eggs typically on flat surfaces and will typically hatch in April.
Adult lanternflies can fly, hop or drop onto a vehicle, so the insect can easily be transported to other areas.
Jessica Inhof, administrator for the DDA’s inspector section Plant Industries, said that residents have been concerned by the presence of the insect and reaching out to see what they can do.
“We realize that residents cannot kill all of them, but even stomping on one makes a difference,” inhof said. “We want to decrease the number of female spotted lanternfly available to lay egg masses, which will directly impact the population that hatches out in the spring.”
Residents can help by scraping off egg masses into a bag containing rubbing alcohol or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and crushing them to destroy the eggs.
The quarantine can expand if there is reason to believe that the pest has moved to a non-quarantined area, and according to the press release, any material or object that could harbor the pest cannot be moved without taking precautions to prevent the spread.
Any person conducting business for a commercial business, a municipality or a government agency that requires movement of any “regulated item” within or from the quarantine area must have a permit.
The permit demonstrates the individual understands how to identify the pest and can ensure the items transported are not carrying the insect. The permit and examples of regulated items can be found on DDA’s website.