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More reason to Smush it:  USDA awards Pennsylvania $1.5 million grant to fight Spotted Lanternflies

More reason to Smush it: USDA awards Pennsylvania $1.5 million grant to fight Spotted Lanternflies

The USDA has awarded $1.5 million in grant funding to bolster the fight against the spotted lanternfly.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has granted the Pennsylvania state government a total of $1.5 million to address the fight against the spotted lanternfly.

The grant funding will be distributed amongst a number of causes, including:

  • $354,690 to improve public education and awareness of spotted lanternflies
  • $219,290 to increase detection and suppression of spotted lanternfly populations
  • $157,219 to develop automated detection and prevention of spotted lanternfly population growth
  • $135,427 to assist Sentinel Plant Network, an organization which aids in plant conservation across the US
  • $91,424 to monitor spotted lanternfly populations
  • $80,000 to administer orchard surveys

Spotted lanternflies were first found in Pennsylvania in 2014. The invasive species, which is native to China, Vietnam, and Bangladesh, has since spread to 26 counties. The insects wreak havoc on the environment, damaging crops and swarming in the air. Read more about spotted lanternflies and what to do if you see one.

In 2020, a record number of spotted lanternfly sightings were reported in the state of Pennsylvania. The insect’s population has continued to spread throughout different parts of the state, as well as to neighboring states. The new grant will be used to quell the growth of spotted lanternfly populations and mitigate damage to crops and wildlife.

Combating the spread of these insects is crucial in order to protect the state’s agricultural industries. According to the USDA, the Pennsylvania timber industry provides 90,000 jobs and generates $11.5 billion annually — numbers potentially threatened by the damage spotted lanternflies can cause to trees and timber. The insects also pose a threat to other agricultural industries, feeding on crops such as fruit trees and grape vines.

If you see a spotted lanternfly, make sure to squash the bug. You should also destroy any egg masses you find. Finally, you can report spotted lanternfly sightings, either by using this online tool or by calling 1-888-4BADFLY.

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Sophie Brous is an editorial intern at Green Philly. Born and raised in NYC, she now attends Haverford College, where she majors in linguistics. When she's not writing, she can be found exploring cities, making arts and crafts, and finding ways to live a greener lifestyle. View all posts by Sophie Brous

1 thought on “More reason to Smush it: USDA awards Pennsylvania $1.5 million grant to fight Spotted Lanternflies

  1. With all the science/scientist and others working agriculture in PA, is squashing these pesky insects the best that they’ve come up with at this point/ Folks not thinking about them now, but in a few months they will be swarming and ruining our outdoors spaces again. They are just another thing on the list of everything that is wrong in the world these days. They are like a modern day locust plague. God help us!

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