PRESENT SPOTTED LANTERNFLY QUARANTINE. IS NOT EFFECTIVE.
To begin with almost no one seems to know that there is a quarantine area and that they may be included in it. While its great to have one if on one is alerted to the fact they its pointless.
Very recently our area of New Jersey was placed inside the quarantine area.
The only reason I discovered this was because I am a concerned person and I
subscribe to our states plant pest advisory. A notification came out and stated
that if a business (any business not just agricultural) was transporting outside
the area you need to have a permit.
Well I am a business, I don't transport in the way they are discussing but I was given no notification about the quarantine or that I would need a permit.
So I started asking other businesses. I asked the UPS man when he brought my parcels and the Fed Ex person. I asked small businesses in our local town if they knew. I was greeted by blank stares. No one was aware.
Even if you do get a permit its totally stupid the way its implemented.
1. Say you are a grower of plant material, which you sell to a garden
center. If you are in the quarantine area but the garden centers you deliver
to are outside it then you need a permit.
However if the garden centers are INSIDE the quarantine area you don't.
So now you deliver your products to a garden center, people come in and buy these products which don't have to be cleared. Then take them goodness knows where, could be local or it could be miles and miles away even a different state.
There is NOTHING in any of the garden centers to warn buyers to check their
plants for spotted lanternfly and no warnings about taking material out of the
I contacted the Agricultural agent who sent out the briefing on the spotted lanternfly and asked about this concern. His reply was that it was a "work in progress that they would get to it." While I understand that these people have a lot of work to do. Ensuring that garden centers had posters up and alerting their customers for the problem seems essential to me.
2. Moving permits. This one is a total joke.
If you have a truck that delivers anything outside the quarantine area then you need to have a permit to do so and have to have the drivers trained to spot the lanternfly. Well that sounds good. But as I mentioned above no one I asked knew anything about the quarantine. So everyone is just going about their normal business obliviously.
The quarantine states you need a permit if you have a business in the quarantine area and deliver outside it. It also states that if you are outside the area but travel through it and stop at any point even though you are going to the other side. You still need a permit. So say your driver travels across Pennsylvania stops for lunch in the quarantine zone and moves on. Then you need a permit. The driver is supposed to check his truck before he drives on to ensure he has not picked up any insects or egg masses. That's good IF the companies and drivers even knew about the program.
If you are a commuter. Say you live in a nice semi rural area and you park your car outside on your driveway at night. You live in the quarantine area (but most likely have no idea that you do) but you work outside the area. You drive your car to work every day and park it maybe under some trees in the lot where you work. You DON'T need a permit.
So I ask you who is more likely to pick up the lanternflys, adults or egg masses?
Is it any wonder that this thing is spreading like wildfire?
With these kind of lax restrictions there is no possibility that this horrible pest will not spread all across the United States and decimate our fruit and wine crops in very short order if most people are unaware that its even a threat.
While I understand that there are most likely very limited resources to get the message out to people spending some money on a mass mailing to every household in the quarantine zone, posting on social media and getting local papers to publish. Getting stores and especially garden centers to put up flyers to alert everyone should be essential. If the general public have no idea that this is a problem then there is nothing they personally can do about it.
So my appeal to you is please. No matter where you live. Spend a few moments looking at the images here. Learn what this pest looks like, know how to spot egg masses. Even if you live no where near Pennsylvania these guys are coming to your area and most likely soon. If you can spot them early perhaps we can catch them and get them killed off before they spread to crops in your area.
HELP TO STOP THE SPREAD OF THIS PEST.
If you do live in Pennsylvania, or its surrounding states then please do take the time to do this and be vigilant. Your input could help to stop the spread of this pest.
The Pennsylvania department of agriculture has extensive information about Spotted Lanternfly and how to deal with it. There is also a training course you can take, even if you are not in the quarantine area to learn what to do and how to spot the pest. If you see this pest please report it.
LIFE CYCLE AND PICTURES TO HELP IDENTIFICATION.
LINKS OUTSIDE OUR SITE
With your help we can slow if not stop the spread of this pest.
|Janice Hazeldine PhD is the owner and head grower of Floral Encounters an organic Medicinal Herb farm that is also a designated sanctuary for pollinators.|