Posted: June 21, 2018

What do you want to know about the invasive spotted lanternfly?

Next week, you can ask state agriculture officials, who will host a Facebook Live question-and-answer session at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

First spotted (pun intended) in Berks County in 2014, the lanternfly nymphs were sighted in the Hamburg area of Berks County in mid-May. As of last year, it was found in 75 municipalities across six counties in eastern Pennsylvania.

More than $16 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture funding is being spent on a survey, control program and eradication efforts, with an additional $1 million or so going toward public education efforts.

The Facebook Live Q&A session will include both state and federal agriculture officials, as well as representatives from the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences.

The spotted lanternfly adult, native to China and India, is approximately an inch long and a half-inch wide. The forewing is grey with black spots and the wings tips are reticulated black blocks outlined in grey. The hind wings have contrasting patches of red and black with a white band. The legs and head are black; the abdomen is yellow with broad black bands. Immature stages are black with white spots, and develop red patches as they grow.

Agriculture officials said the invasive pest has the potential to greatly damage the grape, hops and logging industries.

Businesses moving within or from the area where the state has established a quarantine may be required to obtain a spotted lanternfly permit. (interactive map to determine if a business is within a quarantine zone)

Visit the agriculture department's Facebook page, where the Q&A will take place.