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Agriculture Officials Really Want Those Spotted Lanternflies Gone, Gone, Gone

Adult Spotted Lanternflies outside the Berks County Services Building in Reading, PA Monday afternoon. The Spoted Lanternfly is an invasive species from Asia.
Adult Spotted Lanternflies outside the Berks County Services Building in Reading, PA Monday afternoon. The Spoted Lanternfly is an invasive species from Asia.

Heads up: There's an unwelcome visitor in Pennsylvania and officials are urging residents to take caution.

The spotted lanternfly has been moving in and threatening agriculture and trees, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

The flies are known to cause some serious damage to trees, including oozing sap, wilting and leaf curling. In more serious cases, they can cause trees, vines, crops and many other types of plants to die.

In addition to plant damage, once spotted lanternflies feed, they eject a sugary substance, otherwise known as honeydew, that encourages the growth of black sooty mold. Each fall, the bugs will lay egg masses with 30-50 eggs each.

If you're in Pennsylvania and see a spotted lanternfly, officials say it is imperative to immediately report it online to the state Department of Agriculture or by phone, especially if you are not inside one of the county's quarantine zones.

In the meantime, Pennsylvania officials give the following advice to those who encounter the pesky insects: "Kill it! Squash it, smash it ... just get rid of it."

Back in 2014, the pests were first found in Pennsylvania and have since spread to multiple counties, which are now quarantined.

In March, the state's agriculture department added eight additional counties to its "Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine" list, for a total of 34 out of 67 Pennsylvania counties now in quarantine.

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