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Spotted laternfly quarantine returns in New Castle County

Delaware Department of Agriculture

New Castle County is under quarantine again to try to contain the persistent pest known as the spotted lanternfly.

The quarantine went into effect on the first of the month. The state says populations of the spotted lanternfly have been identified near Odessa. 

New Castle County businesses are required to acquire a special permit from the state Department of Agriculture before moving materials into or out of the county. The permit is meant to signify those moving the materials have been trained on how to spot the invasive bug and its eggs.

“We know that the nymphs—the immature stages—the adults and their eggs can be hidden or kind of latch on to vehicles,” said Stephen Hauss, the Ag Department’s Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey Coordinator.    

The spotted lanternfly is currently in its nymph stage. Hauss says the mild winter allowed for a high hatch rate this year. 

Residents are not required to obtain permits, but are encouraged to check for the insect whenever leaving the quarantined area.

“We’re really asking everyone to do their part.,” said Hauss. “We know it’s a difficult time and this is a growing problem in Delaware. But it is a bit threat to our agriculture as well as our way of life”     

The spotted lanternfly is a destructive plant-hopper indigenous to China, India and Viet-Nam. It’s particularly attracted to the invasive tree of heaven 

The state has been partnering with the federal USDA to treat properties identified as having that tree and has done so on more than 4,000 acres in Delaware.  

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