The USDA is providing Pennsylvania with an additional $1.5 million to fight spotted lanternflies through the Plant Protection Act. The flies have spread to nine states, killing acres of grapes along the way.
“The lanternflies feed on the grapevines and then that leaves them vulnerable to winter temperatures,” said Emelie Swackhamer, horticulture educator, PennState Extension.
Therefore, the fight against the flies is ramping up. Experts said the USDA’s grant will fund continued research such as studying Asian birds and fungi that already kill the flies. “I’m hopeful that, you know, maybe, somewhere along the road these natural factors might help us stabilize the populations, and that’s kind of a long-term goal,” Swackhamer told kget.com.
The funds will support projects covering a range of plant health and pest mitigation activities, including outreach and education, detection and suppression and plant conservation.