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Spotted lanternfly seen in Lackawanna County

Newswatch 16's Courtney Harrison spoke with an expert who explains what you should do if you see one.

SCRANTON, Pa. — The spotted lanternfly has been slowly making its way north, and now the invasive pest population is growing in Lackawanna County.

Jill Baer is the master gardener coordinator for the Penn State Extension in Scranton. She says the invasive insect first showed up in Lackawanna County last year, and the bugs have only spread since then.

"If you have a grapevine or if you have a tree of heaven in your neighborhood. If you see it, it's a weedy invasive plant. Sometimes I pull into a parking lot, see it and then look for spotted lanternfly because I know that's a likely place where they will be," Baer said.

We spotted the pesky insect in its adult form along the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail in Scranton. Soon, those adults will lay more eggs, and spotting those egg masses is important.

Credit: USDA Photo by Lance Cheung

"If you're moving firewood or moving anything that's been sitting outside, check it first. Give it a look over, keeping those egg masses from moving around."

Experts say there are many ways to get rid of the spotted lanternfly. They don't recommend wrapping trees with a sticky trap anymore. They recommend circle traps to catch them, but there's another easy way.

"Stepping on them, smashing them, fly swatters work. All those things work," Baer said.

Baer says if you find an egg mass, you should scrape it off and destroy it.

"If you're scraping egg masses, you want to make sure that you're not just scraping them off, that you're smashing them or scraping them off into a container with alcohol so that those eggs are no longer viable."

Get information from the Penn State Extension on spotted lanternflies here.

Information from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is here.

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