River talk

Spotted lanternflies

An update on the infestation developing in Pike County

By SCOTT RANDO
Posted 10/6/21

In the September 8 Rivertalk column, I had written about the appearance of the spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) and how it was appearing sporadically in Pike County, with single sightings in a …

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River talk

Spotted lanternflies

An update on the infestation developing in Pike County

Posted

In the September 8 Rivertalk column, I had written about the appearance of the spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) and how it was appearing sporadically in Pike County, with single sightings in a few locations. Roughly half the townships in the county (mostly the southern half) had reported sightings. As of the last available reports from New York, spotted lanternflies were present in Orange County, but not Sullivan County.

Starting around September 20, I started to hear reports of more local sightings in Shohola and surrounding townships. A neighbor found one in her back yard. During the same week, one was spotted on Foster Hill Road, in Milford Township. During the following weekend, while hiking on Department of Conservation and Natural Resources land in Blooming Grove Township, I spotted at least 30 adults perched on power line support towers that cut through a deciduous forest composed largely of oak. Up until this time, I have only spotted large numbers of this pest in the central and southern counties of PA.

In the past, I have found single adults at one particular pole (August 2020 and August 2021), but on the 25th, a few weeks later, there were over 20 in the one area; many individuals could be spotted up to 50’ high. I thought about this behavior and wondered if it might have been observed elsewhere. Indeed, they seem to be fixated by vertical structures such as telephone poles and power line supports, according to entomologists in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, who have recently observed this phenomenon. They seem to climb and fly off to get more distance, but then come back to the tower, like moths to a flame. The researchers are contemplating using this behavior for trapping individuals and a possible future control measure.

As of now, both Pike and Wayne counties are included in the PA state quarantine, which was put in place to mitigate the spread of the spotted lanternfly. The threat to certain trees and agricultural crops is significant. More information on this pest as well as quarantine information can be found at www.extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly.

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