A dreaded pest is expanding its reach into Monroe County and residents are being urged to get rid of it.
Experts have confirmed new sightings of the Spotted Lanternfly.
Monroe County Conservation District Manager Adam Schellhammer says, "Compared to last year, we had a couple of phone calls come in, they were false alarms which was good, but this year the calls we’ve been getting have resulted in us positively identifying adult Spotted Lanternflies in Monroe County."
Just in the past week, the Monroe County Conservation District has confirmed six sites of Spotted Lanternflies. Some sites had too many to count.
Schellhammer says, "We have confirmed sitings everywhere from Jackson Township, Chestnuthill Township, Kunkletown area, Eldred Township and we’re working really closely with those folks to just make sure we get the word out the best as possible and just have everyone keep their eyes open for more."
The Conservation District is dedicated to stopping the spread because it could be devastating to agriculture and tourism. The invaders like hardwoods, orchard fruits and grapes. The owners of Mountain View Vineyard located in Hamilton Township, which is near the sitings, are concerned but they’re being proactive.
Co-Owner Linda Rice of Mountain View Vineyard says, "My husband and I have gone to a couple of workshops so that we are able to identify the Spotted Lanternfly and we’ve trained our staff who work out here in the vineyard also to look for them and so far, thank God, we have not seen any here."
One of the confirmed locations is in the trees on Woodstock Drive in Chestnuthill Township. We’re told they’re attracted to Atlantis Trees and we spotted several. You can tell if you have that type of tree in your yard by crinkling up a leaf and smelling it. It smells like rancid peanut butter.
Schellhammer says, "Pretty common invasive species in certain areas of Monroe County and it seems to be of particular interest to Spotted Lanternflies, it’s in their native range too. So we think they’re some connection with it’s life cycle."
We followed experts advice and squashed some of the ones we found. The Conservation District has received state funding to purchase metal signs that they’ll be posting in high traffic areas. They’re also hoping to get the warnings up on billboards too so that people check to make sure they’re not transporting the flies or egg masses.
Schellhammer says, "From now till December, you’re going to see egg masses probably and the adults will die off in December so the winter season will be a great time to get out there and kill or scrape and destroy as many of those as you can."
If you do find any Spotted Lanternflies in any of its forms, report it to the Monroe County Conservation District at 570-629-3060. If you’re unsure what you’ve found, District Officials will also come check it out.