By Katie Knol, WITF’s Newsroom Intern for Summer 2023
A few summers ago, it looked like Central Pennsylvania was experiencing a biblical plague.
Plants, trees, and parking lots seemed to be covered in spotted lanternflies — an invasive species native to Southeast Asia. They were first spotted in Berks County, and have since spread throughout Pennsylvania and the Northeastern United States.
In the commonwealth, 51 counties are under quarantine for the pests, which means people are asked to take extra precautions to prevent the bug from making it into new areas.
- Researchers are finding spotted lanternflies make a tasty meal for some birds and other bugs
- Penn State researchers aim to debunk myths surrounding spotted lanternfly
- Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
- Penn State Agricultural Extension
But recently, the summertime bug hasn’t been seen in huge numbers in the midstate. Brian Walsh, a Penn State extension educator who researches spotted lanternflies, said the decline isn’t just your imagination.