Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary, Russell Redding announced on Friday that 11 more counties including Mercer County will be added to the commonwealth's spotted lanternfly quarantine zone.

Redding explains that spotted lanternflies threaten outdoor businesses and quality of life as well as valuable crops that Pennsylvania's economy depends on such as grapes, and that it's up to Pennsylvanians to be on the lookout for spotted lanternflies.

"Walk your yard, garden or land before before spring hatch and scrape egg masses. Kill every bug. Check your vehicles before travelling to ensure you're not transporting them to a new area for new opportunities to devastate our crops and outdoor quality of life," Redding said.

Businesses that operate or travel in quarantined counties must get a Spotted Lanternfly Permit. Over 20,000 companies throughout the United States and Canada have gotten these permits.

While adult lanternflies do not survive winter months, insects from the previous season have laid eggs on many outdoor surfaces in masses of 30-60 eggs, each covered in mud or putty-like protective coating.

Finding and destroying these egg masses now will prevent them from hatching and in turn, reducing the spread this season.

The quarantine strictly prohibits the movement of any spotted lanternfly living stage including egg masses, nymphs and adults, and regulates the movement of articles that may have the insect.  

To learn how to recognize spotted lanternflies and the eggs they lay, as well as how to safely control it on your property, contact your local PSU Extension office or click here

Known lanternfly infestations are not widespread in Mercer County, but in scattered municipalities shown on the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's online map.

Note that there are multiple versions of the map available including an interactive map detailing which sections of the county are quarantined.

A total of 45 PA counties are in the quarantine zone. Currently, no areas of Lawrence County are affected by the quarantine.