After arriving in Delaware in 2017, spotted lanternfly now confirmed in Sussex County

DOVER, Del. (July 12, 2022) — Five years after the first confirmed spotted lanternfly was found in New Castle County in 2017, the spotted lanternfly has made its way to Sussex County, creating a statewide quarantine for this invasive pest.

The spotted lanternfly is a destructive invasive planthopper that attacks many hosts, including trees, shrubs, orchards, grapes, and hops. The insect is detrimental to Delaware’s agricultural industry, forests, and residential areas.

Effective July 12, the Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) will expand the quarantine to include Sussex County due to established populations of spotted lanternfly found in Georgetown, Milford, Seaford, Ocean View, and Rehoboth. Quarantine means that residents, businesses, or municipalities cannot move any material or object that could harbor the pest without taking precautions to prevent the spread. Adults can fly, hop, or drop onto a vehicle – meaning that this pest can be easily transported to new areas where it can create another infestation.

“It is practically impossible to eradicate the spotted lanternfly because of its status as a hitchhiker bug,” said Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Nikko Brady. “For a small state, our Spotted Lanternfly Program has done an excellent job in fending off the spread of this invasive insect for five years and are just now finding it in Sussex County.”

Since the initial population of spotted lanternfly was found in 2018, DDA has partnered with USDA to conduct surveys and assessments. Overall, the Spotted Lanternfly Program has treated 23,721 acres with insecticides or herbicides to reduce Delaware’s spotted lanternfly population. Once the females began laying egg masses this past fall, the team scraped 90,147 egg masses with 30-50 eggs in each, significantly reducing this year’s population.

Due to quarantines in other states, interstate commerce will be impacted if the pest is transported out of the Delaware quarantine area. Therefore, DDA’s Spotted Lanternfly Program is focused on priority properties that are pathways for the movement of spotted lanternfly, including highways, railways, public transportation, and distribution centers. The Program’s inspectors use the tree of heaven, an invasive necessary for spotted lanternfly to reproduce, to search for the insect.

Managing Spotted Lanternfly
A 3rd instar spotted lanternfly is black with white spots. When it metamorphizes into a 4th instar, it will be black with red on its body and white spots.Homeowners are encouraged to visit Delaware’s spotted lanternfly website at https://de.gov/hitchhikerbug to learn what the quarantine means and how to manage this invasive pest. The Delaware Homeowner Spotted Lanternfly and Treatment Fact Sheet lists pesticides labeled for planthoppers or leafhoppers sold at local home and garden stores, which can be used to kill the insect. Residents can do their part by treating nymphs and adults from May to November and scraping and destroying egg masses from December to May. Homeowners can also hire a commercially licensed turf and ornamental pesticide applicator to treat their properties for these insects.

In Delaware, spotted lanternfly nymphs are in the third and fourth instar stages and will metamorphize into adults before the end of July. From now until early September, trees are actively moving phloem from the trunk into the branches, which feed the tree’s growth. At this time, using a systemic insecticide is preferred because it is absorbed by tree roots, bark, or leaves and is moved through its vascular system to other parts of the tree. This means that no matter what area the spotted lanternfly feeds on, it will ingest the insecticide and die.

Eliminating the tree of heaven helps decrease the spotted lanternfly population. The tree of heaven is found in industrial parks, unmanaged areas, or vacant lots, and along highways and railways. Municipalities and businesses should prioritize destroying the female tree of heaven while leaving some male specimens as trap trees. The average homeowner does not have tree of heaven on their properties, but the homeowner should remove it if identified.

Delaware Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine and Permitting
The general public is encouraged to download and print the Delaware Resident Spotted Lanternfly Compliance Checklist, indicating that you inspected and know that no living life stage of the spotted lanternfly is present on regulated articles before moving them. The checklist is available online at https://de.gov/hitchhikerbug. DDA recommends keeping the checklist in each vehicle’s glove box and noting the date when specific items on the list are inspected before transport.

Examples of regulated articles include:
• Any living life stage of the spotted lanternfly
• Landscaping, remodeling, or construction materials
• Firewood of any species
• Packing materials (e.g., wood crates, boxes)
• All plants and plant parts, including all live and dead trees, perennial and annual plants, and mulch
• Outdoor household articles like RVs, lawnmowers, chairs, grills, tarps, tile, stone, deck boards, and other vehicles not stored indoors.

Any person conducting business for a commercial company, 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. 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. This individual is then required to train other employees to inspect vehicles and products and remove any spotted lanternfly life stages. The permit demonstrates that the individual understands how to identify the pest and ensure the items transported are not carrying the insect.

Reporting Spotted Lanternfly
Adult spotted lanternfly on a person's thumb. The adult is about the length from the tip of the thumb to the first joint below the nail.Residents who live near the Dover Air Force Base or in Sussex County are encouraged to report sightings of the spotted lanternfly. Citizen reports help DDA inspectors determine how these insects move and which transportation pathways they utilize. These reports also allow DDA to notify agricultural operations with plants vulnerable to this insect. Residents can make a report by using the online form at https://de.gov/hitchhikerbug or emailing HitchHikerBug@delaware.gov and including the location of the find in the subject line. Due to the high level of reporting, DDA inspectors will not respond to emails but will use the information provided to determine if a new spotted lanternfly population is present.

Additional Information
In March 2019, DDA initially quarantined zip codes in New Castle County, where an established population of reproducing spotted lanternfly was found. The quarantine was expanded in September 2019 to include all areas of New Castle County north of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal and finally included the entire county in July 2020. DDA quarantined Kent County in October 2020, when established populations of the insect were found in Smyrna, Dover, and Harrington.

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Downstate Public Ponds to Be Treated for Invasive Aquatic Weed Hydrilla

With inland water temperatures rising and aquatic plants emerging, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will be treating certain downstate public ponds for the nuisance aquatic weed hydrilla, starting the week of May 24, 2021. Hydrilla is a non-native, invasive plant that likely entered the state through the aquarium trade. Uncontrolled hydrilla can choke ponds and other waterways, crowding out beneficial plant species and preventing fishing and boating access.

Ponds to be treated this year are Millsboro Pond, Tub Mill Pond and Abbotts Mill Pond near Milford, and Wagamons Pond in Milton. Signs will be posted at the boat ramp of each pond on the day of treatment.

Sonar, an aquatic herbicide containing fluridone, will be used to treat the ponds for hydrilla. Sonar is registered and approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It has been used in Delaware since the 1980s and has proven to be environmentally-compatible and effective for controlling hydrilla. Sonar does not pose a threat to wildlife, including fish, and there are no restrictions on fishing or consumption of fish after these treatments.

The only restriction is water from the treated ponds should not be used for irrigation for 30 days after the date of treatment. Residents and farmers along and directly downstream of treated ponds should not use the water to irrigate their gardens, yards or agricultural lands during that period to avoid possible damage to their plantings. Landowners with permits to use water from these ponds will be directly notified before treatment.

To prevent the spread of hydrilla and other invasive aquatic vegetation, anglers and boaters are encouraged to remove all hydrilla and other aquatic plants from their boats, trailers and gear before leaving boat ramp areas.

For additional information, contact the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife at 302-739-9914.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities, and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife conserves and manages Delaware’s fish and wildlife and their habitats, and provides fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and boating access on nearly 65,000 acres of public land. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Joanna Wilson, joanna.wilson@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

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Delawareans report receiving mysterious packages of plant seeds

DOVER, Del. (July 27, 2020) – The Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) received reports over the weekend from several Delawareans who received unsolicited packages of seeds in shipments from China. After sharing information through social media, DDA found that there were more than just a few random shipments and more residents have been impacted.

Based on information provided by constituents, the packages were sent by mail and may have Chinese writing on them. All contained some sort of seed packet either alone, with jewelry, or another inexpensive item. It is believed that these shipments are part of a brushing scam where shippers send out low-cost items at their own expense in order to rank higher on e-commerce sites. Brushing helps the seller create a more legitimate appearance to their profiles.

Anyone who has received a package with seeds is asked to report the shipment to the Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance Program (SITC) by calling the Smuggling Hotline at 1-800-877-3835. Recipients are asked to leave everything inside the package to help investigators trace the origin.

The seeds have not been identified but based upon the packages there are multiple plant varieties being shipped illegally. No one should ever plant seeds they did not order because they could be an invasive species. SITC will provide instructions on how to handle the seeds and in the case that they were planted, how the plants should be handled.

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All New Castle County Quarantined As Spotted Lanternfly Move South

This map depicts New Castle County shaded in pink to show the spotted lanternfly quarantine as of July 1, 2020
Effective July 1, all of New Castle County is quarantined for spotted lanternfly.

DOVER, Del. (June 30, 2020) – Effective July 1, the Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) 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.

“Due to the mild winter, we have experienced a high hatch rate of spotted lanternfly nymphs. This is consistent with the reports we are receiving from New Castle County residents who are asking how to get rid of this pest,” said DDA Plant Industries Administrator Jessica Inhof. “The treatment program is focused on properties that have tree of heaven present, but we know from surveying that many homeowners are finding the nymphs on other plants in their landscapes as well. We are encouraging homeowners experiencing outbreaks of this pest to use insecticides labeled for planthoppers or leafhoppers to kill nymphs and adult spotted lanternfly. If homeowners don’t feel comfortable applying insecticides themselves, they can hire a commercially licensed turf and ornamental pesticide applicator to conduct treatments.”

The spotted lanternfly is a destructive invasive plant hopper that attacks many hosts including trees, shrubs, orchards, grapes, and hops. 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.

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. Adults 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.

“We are encouraging everyone to help us battle the spotted lanternfly and slow its spread. We have really shifted gears in New Castle County to a capture or destroy mentality. All spotted lanternfly should be destroyed, but if you are below the C&D Canal and find spotted lanternfly we want to know and need a specimen to confirm.” said Katie Bielicki, Delaware Spotted Lanternfly Program Coordinator. “Over the next week or so, residents will see the nymph change in colors to black with red splotches and white dots. Once this happens, the metamorphosis to the adult form is not far off and typically begins by mid-July. It’s a lot easier to treat with insecticide to kill the nymphs now, than it is to kill adults who often will climb into the upper canopies of trees to lay their egg masses.”

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. 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. Training of other employees, inspection of vehicle and products, and removal of living stages of spotted lanternfly must be completed. The permit demonstrates the individual understands how to identify the pest and can ensure the items transported are not carrying the insect.

To move regulated items, the general public is encouraged to download and print the Delaware Resident Spotted Lanternfly Compliance Checklist indicating that you inspected and know that no living life stage of the spotted lanternfly is present, on regulated articles before moving them. DDA recommends keeping the checklist in the glovebox of each vehicle and dating when specific items on the list are inspected prior to transporting.

Examples of regulated articles include:
• Any living life stage of the spotted lanternfly
• Landscaping, remodeling, or construction materials
• Firewood of any species
• Packing materials (e.g. wood crates, boxes)
• All plants and plant parts including all live and dead trees, perennial and annual plants, and mulch
• Outdoor household articles like RVs, lawnmowers, chairs, grills, tarps, tile, stone, deck boards, and other vehicles not stored indoors.

For more detailed information regarding the quarantine, permitting, treatment, or to report a sighting of spotted lanternfly, visit the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s dedicated spotted lanternfly webpage at https://de.gov/hitchhikerbug or call the dedicated spotted lanternfly hotline at (302) 698-4632. When leaving a message, leave your contact information and, if reporting a sighting, please provide the location of the sighting.

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Media Contact: Stacey Hofmann, (302) 698-4542, Stacey.Hofmann@delaware.gov


DNREC begins treatment of downstate public ponds for the aquatic weed hydrilla

With inland water temperatures rising and aquatic plants emerging, DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife is treating downstate public ponds for the nuisance aquatic weed hydrilla. Uncontrolled hydrilla can choke the water, crowding out beneficial plant species and preventing fishing and boating access. Ponds being treated this year are Griffiths Pond near Milford, Concord Pond near Seaford, and Wagamons Pond in Milton. Signs are posted at the boat ramp of each pond on the day of treatment.

Sonar, registered and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is an aquatic herbicide containing fluridone. It is used to treat Hydrilla, a non-native, invasive plant that likely entered the state through the aquarium trade. Sonar has been used in Delaware since the 1980s, and has proven to be environmentally-compatible and effective for controlling hydrilla. Sonar does not pose a threat to wildlife, including fish, nor are there any restrictions placed on fishing or consumption of fish as a result of these treatments.

The only special restriction is to not use water from the treated ponds for irrigation for 30 days from the date of treatment. Residents and farmers along and directly downstream of treated ponds should not use the water to irrigate their gardens, yards, or agricultural lands during that period to avoid possible damage to their plantings, and landowners with permits to use water from these ponds will be directly notified before treatment.

To prevent the spread of hydrilla and other invasive aquatic vegetation, anglers and boaters are encouraged to remove all hydrilla and other aquatic plants from their boats, trailers, and gear before leaving the boat ramp area.

For additional information, contact the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife Fisheries section at 302-739-9914.

About DNREC

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

 

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