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Spotted lanternfly spreading farther into our area

Four counties in our area have had confirmed sightings of the invasive species, including Wayne County.

HAWLEY, Pa. — The spotted lanternfly began its so-called invasion almost seven years ago, and now the invasive species can be found in 34 counties in Pennsylvania.

The Department of Agriculture added Lackawanna, Montour, Pike, and Wayne Counties, along with four others outside of our area, to its quarantine list to help slow the spread of the insect.

Diane Diffenderfer works as a garden expert with the Penn State Extension of Wayne County and says if you live in a quarantine county, this is the time of the year to look for egg masses on trees.

"Acquaint yourself with what those egg masses look like and scrape them off. You can kill the eggs, and they're 30 to 50 eggs in that egg mass," Diffenderfer said.

The lanternfly is known as a "hitchhiker" insect and can attach itself to wheel wells of cars or roof racks. Although people haven't traveled as much this year, the insect continues to find its way to new places.

"If this bug is spreading now because other people are moving around, that's hard. It's just another thing that we have to stay inside for or stay close to home for. It makes it hard," said Laura Grone of Hawley.

Palmyra Township is one of two townships in Wayne County that have confirmed sightings of the spotted lanternfly, and we asked people in neighboring Hawley if they had any knowledge of the bug.

"I never heard anything about it before. We know what we need to avoid, simple things like poison ivy and poison oak but not something like this," said Joseph Kelly of Hawley.

Now that the spotted lanternfly has been identified in four new counties in our area, it's important for people to know what to do when they see it.

"In most people can just kill them in their own yards, like by scraping or stamping on them, they don't necessarily need spray," Diffenderfer added.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture spotted lanternfly page can be found here