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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Delaware expands spotted lanternfly quarantine in New Castle County

DOVER, Del. – The Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) announced today that they expanded the spotted lanternfly quarantine to include all portions of New Castle County north of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. This is due to recent detections of established populations outside of the initial quarantine zone enacted in February 2019 that included eleven zip codes.

adult spotted lanternfly on tree of heaven marked for treatment“This expansion is necessary in our attempt to eradicate, control, and prevent the spread of spotted lanternfly in Delaware and to surrounding states. Along with conducting surveys, our Plant Industries inspectors, in conjunction with USDA contractors, have treated 19,685 trees in the initial quarantine zone, encompassing 130 properties,” said Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse. “With the current presence of adult lanternflies, Delawareans have been actively reporting sightings of this pest over the past two weeks, including areas in the original quarantine zone as well as new sites in New Castle County. Our inspectors investigated these reports and determined established populations of spotted lanternfly were present at these new sites, thus requiring us to expand the quarantine.”

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 have heard from many residents who are seeing an abundance of adult spotted lanternfly and are overwhelmed by their presence and want to know what they can do,” said DDA Plant Industries Administrator Jessica Inhof. “We realize that residents cannot kill all of them, but even stomping on one makes a difference. We want to decrease the number of female spotted lanternfly available to lay egg masses, which will directly impact the population that hatches out in the spring.”

Beginning at the end of September, the female spotted lanternfly will lay several egg masses of 30 to 50 eggs wherever it chooses, especially on flat surfaces. Eggs will survive the winter and nymphs will hatch out beginning the end of April 2020. Residents can help by scraping off egg masses into a bag containing rubbing alcohol or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and crushing them to destroy the eggs.

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 a residential 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 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, deckboards, 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