Dept. of Ag expands Spotted Lanternfly quarantine ahead of hatching season | Five for the Weekend
Happy weekend, all.
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is encouraging residents to do their part to slow the spread of Spotted Lanternflies in Pennsylvania.
More specifically, the department is encouraging residents to remove egg masses before they hatch, which usually occurs in May-June.
“This time of year, before the eggs hatch in spring, do your part to help manage the pest by scraping egg masses and reporting where they are found. Each egg mass destroyed eliminates 30-50 lanternflies before they have an opportunity to hatch and spread,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said.
In February, the Department of Agriculture extended the quarantine to six more counties: Butler, Clearfield, Clinton, Fayette, Lawrence, and Somerset counties.
Pennsylvania’s quarantine area now covers 51 of the Commonwealth’s 67 counties.
The purpose of the quarantine areas is to “raise awareness and slow the spread of the spotted lanternfly,” Dr. Ruth Welliver, director of the department’s Bureau of Plant Industry said in a statement. “Thanks to an actively engaged community, and aggressive treatment and monitoring by the Department of Agriculture and our partners, we are limiting the spread and impact of this pest across the Commonwealth and are assisting our commodity growers in protecting their crops.”
Since 2015, the department has received more than $53 million for efforts to combat the spread of spotted lanternfly in Pennsylvania – $32 million in federal funds and another $21 million in state investment.
“Spotted lanternfly is an invasive pest that is disruptive and damaging to our agriculture commodities and a nuisance pest for all Pennsylvanians,” Redding said. “Through collective and intentional efforts, including instituting quarantine zones, we continue to slow the spread of this insect, and I call on all Pennsylvanians to assist.”
As always, the top five stories from this week are below.
1. Philly schools chief announces changes to high school admissions after enrollment protests
More than 100 students and some teachers rallied before the Board of Education meeting Thursday to protest how the lottery system for citywide and selective admission high schools is causing huge enrollment drops for many of next fall’s incoming classes.
The declines mean that schools will lose staff positions and many teachers will be reassigned, since teacher allotments are done in the spring based on anticipated fall enrollment. This will destabilize these schools, demoralizing both staff and current students, teachers said.
2. Pa. Lt. Gov. Davis joins multi-state abortion alliance
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Austin Davis announced on Monday that he has joined a national group of lieutenant governors to expand and protect access to reproductive rights nationwide.
Known as The Reproductive Freedom Coalition, the group of 22 Democratic lieutenant governors is focused on protecting abortion access in their states, including through crafting model executive orders and legislation, and is led by Connecticut Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz.
3. Calls to Pittsburgh-area high schools claiming ‘active shooter’ appear to be hoax
Calls to two high schools in Pittsburgh indicating there was an active shooter on campus appear to be part of a larger, coordinated series of hoax calls across the state, law enforcement officials said Wednesday.
Central Catholic and Oakland Catholic high schools in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood received the calls around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, prompting the schools to go into lockdown.
4. Shapiro orders Pa. flags to half-staff for victims of West Reading candy factory explosion
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro ordered state flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of seven people killed in an explosion at a chocolate factory in West Reading on Friday.
The Democratic governor’s order, announced Monday, remains in effect until March 31, the administration said in a statement.
5. Pa. Senate Democrat proposes series of bills to increase housing accessibility
A Pennsylvania senator has announced plans for a series of proposals to increase housing accessibility and make finding affordable housing easier by removing some barriers to renters and low-income homeowners in Pennsylvania.
The three bills sponsored by Sen. Nikil Saval, D-Philadelphia, would remove inaccurate eviction records from screening reports, create a database to help find affordable housing, and prohibit housing discrimination based on an arrest or conviction record.
And that’s the week. We’ll see you back here next week.