Sep. 21, 2020 / Newspaper Columns

By State Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne)

Spotted Lanternfly have grown into adults over the summer and are now beginning to swarm. They hunt for tall structures such as trees and houses in preparation to launch themselves into the wind, look for food and find a safe place to lay their eggs. The Spotted Lanternfly poses no harm to humans; however, they disrupt outdoor activity and feed off several types of trees.

These swarming events give researchers a good idea of where large populations might currently exist, and where egg masses will likely be found this winter. Reporting these swarms via Penn State Extension’s Public Reporting Tool will aid researchers and treatment staff alike in the effort to slow the spread of this invasive insect. The tool is available at

In 2019, more than 90,000 sightings were reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, with the majority coming in during the September swarm. In 2020, the department saw a 50-80% increase in the number of early season peaks compared to 2019.

Native to Asia and first found in Pennsylvania in 2014, the Spotted Lanternfly is capable of decimating entire grape vineyards and damaging fruit orchards, hops, walnuts, hardwoods and decorative trees. These industries contribute billions annually to Pennsylvania’s economy. According to a Penn State economic impact study, the insect could cost the Commonwealth up to $324 million annually with a loss of more than 2,800 jobs if not contained.

In March, Luzerne County was added to the list of 26 counties in Pennsylvania’s Spotted Lanternfly quarantine area.

Representative Tarah Toohil
116th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office
717-260-6136 /