Kent County is being added to the spotted lanternfly quarantine that already covers New Castle County.
Established populations of the destructive, invasive plant-hopper have been found in Dover, Harrington and Smyrna according to the Delaware Department of Agriculture.
Under the quarantine, residents and businesses in the affected communities are not to move any material that could harbor the spotted lanternfly without taking precautions. The pest has been known to jump onto a vehicle and latch onto landscaping equipment, construction equipment, grills, firewood and other items commonly kept outdoors.
“While we understand the frustration residents have with infestations, we must focus on containing the spread of spotted lanternfly to protect Delaware and regional agriculture. Our staff will accomplish this by focusing treatments on priority properties that are pathways for the movement of spotted lanternfly such as highways, railways, public transportation, and distribution centers,” DDA Plant Industries Administrator Jessica Inhof said. “Residents can do their part by removing tree of heaven, treating for nymphs and adults from May to November, and scraping and destroying egg masses from December to May. We are asking every Delaware resident to take part in the effort to stop the spread.”
A female spotted lanternfly is capable of laying 200 eggs before she dies due to cold weather, which makes the timing a concern in Kent County.
The Delaware Department of Agriculture released these guidelines:
The tree of heaven is an important food source for the spotted lanternfly, and eliminating this invasive helps decrease the spotted lanternfly population. The tree of heaven is found in industrial parks, along highways and railways, and in unmanaged areas or vacant lots. Municipalities and businesses should prioritize destroying the female tree of heaven while leaving some male specimens as trap trees.
If identified, homeowners should remove the tree of heaven from their property. This insect will feed and lay egg masses on other species of trees and ornamentals. Currently, homeowners can use any direct contact insecticide labeled for planthoppers or leafhoppers to kill adult spotted lanternfly. We have a listing of insecticides licensed for use in Delaware on our Homeowner Spotted Lanternfly and Treatment Fact Sheet online at https://de.gov/hitchhikerbug. They can also hire a commercially licensed turf and ornamental pesticide applicator to treat their properties for these insects. 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.
Residents are encouraged to report sightings of spotted lanternfly outside of New Castle County. Citizen reports help DDA inspectors determine how these insects are moving and which transportation pathways they are utilizing. These reports also all DDA to notify agricultural operations that have plants vulnerable to this insect. Residents can make a report by emailing HitchHikerBug@delaware.gov and including the location of the find in the subject line. Inspectors may visit the site or area to determine if a new spotted lanternfly population is present.
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, available through the DDA spotted lanternfly website. To obtain a permit, a designated individual from an organization must receive training and pass an online test to demonstrate a working knowledge and understanding of the pest and quarantine requirements. This individual is then required to train other employees to inspect vehicles and products and remove any spotted lanternfly life stages. The permit demonstrates that the individual understands how to identify the pest and ensure the items transported are not carrying the insect.
The general public is encouraged to download and print the Delaware Resident Spotted Lanternfly Compliance Checklist, indicating that you inspected and know that no living life stage of the spotted lanternfly is present, on regulated articles before moving them. The checklist is available online at https://de.gov/hitchhikerbug. DDA recommends keeping the checklist in each vehicle’s glove box and noting the date when specific items on the list are inspected before transport.
Examples of regulated articles include:
- Any living life stage of the spotted lanternfly
- Landscaping, remodeling, or construction materials
- Firewood of any species
- Packing materials (e.g., wood crates, boxes)
- All plants and plant parts, including all live and dead trees, perennial and annual plants, and mulch
- Outdoor household articles like RVs, lawnmowers, chairs, grills, tarps, tile, stone, deck boards, and other vehicles not stored indoors.