Lanternfly quarantine begins Friday

DOVER – Effective Friday, the Delaware Department of Agriculture will quarantine New Castle County in its entirety due to established populations of spotted lanternfly found in Odessa. This is an expansion of the quarantine initially enacted in February 2019 and updated in September 2019.

DDA continues to partner with USDA to conduct surveys and property assessments, while USDA oversees treatment of properties identified with tree of heaven. To date, 4,088 acres have been treated including 20,135 trees encompassing 185 properties above the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal.
Tree of heaven is necessary for the spotted lanternfly to reproduce and eliminating this invasive species helps to decrease the population of spotted lanternfly. This tree is often seen in industrial parks, along highways and railways, and in unmanaged areas or vacant lots.

The spotted lanternfly is a destructive invasive plant hopper that attacks many hosts including trees, shrubs, orchards, grapes, and hops, the DDA said. The insect is detrimental to Delaware’s agricultural industry, forests, and residential areas. Due to quarantines in other states, interstate commerce will be impacted if the pest is transported out of the Delaware quarantine area.

DDA said the quarantine can expand if there is reason to believe that the pest has moved to a non-quarantined area. A quarantine means that any material or object that could harbor the pest cannot be moved without taking precautions to prevent the spread. Adult lanternflies can fly, hop, or drop onto a vehicle – meaning that this pest can easily be transported to new areas where it can create another infestation.

Beginning in September, the female spotted lanternfly will lay several egg masses of 30 to 50 eggs wherever it chooses, especially on flat surfaces.
Any person conducting business for a commercial business, a municipality, or a government agency that requires movement of any regulated item within or from the quarantine area must have a permit, available through the DDA spotted lanternfly website at de.gov/hitchhikerbug
To obtain a permit, a designated individual from an organization must receive training and pass an online test to demonstrate a working knowledge and understanding of the pest and quarantine requirements.
For more information, call 698-4632.