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Spotted lanternfly that feed on grapevines take a serious toll on vine health, reducing flowering the following season or even killing the vines. (Courtesy Erica Smyers, Penn State University)

Spotted lanternfly that feed on grapevines take a serious toll on vine health, reducing flowering the following season or even killing the vines. To read more, see our article in the March 1, 2019, issue, Spotted lanternfly a new grape threat, by Kate Prengaman. (Courtesy Erica Smyers, Penn State University)

The fight against spotted lanternfly in Pennsylvania got a $6.5 million boost this week with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Plant Protection Act.

Detection and prevention efforts for the pest in New York received another $470,000.

The invasive sapsucker was first found in Eastern Pennsylvania in 2014 and officials say it poses a serious threat to vineyards, since feeding swarms can kill vines in just one season.

Quarantine rules aim to limit SLF’s spread, but entomologists say it is going to be hard to contain due to its penchant for laying nondescript gray egg masses on rusty metal, such as rail cars and truck bumpers.

The Pennsylvania funding includes:

—$2.7 million for SLF infestation control.

—$1.6 million for a statewide survey for SLF.

—$1.4 million for public outreach and education about the pest.

—$312,000 for research to develop enhanced mitigation and rapid response to limit SLF’s spread.

—$163,000 for research into SLF female reproduction and endosymbiont transmission that could offer insight into control.

—$99,000 to assess the impact of SLF on forest species in the Mid-Atlantic region.

The funding was announced on Thursday as part of a $66 million program funding 407 plant protection programs across the country, the USDA said in a news release.

—by Kate Prengaman

Related: Spotted lanternfly a new grape threat