Spotted Lanternfly quarantine zone extended to almost entirety of Maryland

11 March 2024- The Maryland Department of Agriculture has taken a significant step in its ongoing efforts to control the invasive spotted lanternfly. The department has announced the expansion of its spotted lanternfly quarantine zone to include two new counties -Charles and Garrett – effective immediately. This quarantine restricts the movement of regulated articles that might contain the spotted lanternfly in any of its life stages, including egg masses, nymphs, and adults.

“As we continue to be vigilant in our approach, we understand the negative impact that spotted lanternflies have on agriculture operations,” said Maryland Department of Agriculture Secretary Kevin Atticks. “As a result, we are taking steps to expand the quarantine zone out of an abundance of caution. We remain committed to controlling this destructive insect’s spread and protecting our agricultural community’s interests.”

The original quarantine order from 2019 included Cecil and Harford counties, which have established spotted lanternfly populations. In early 2022, the quarantine zone expanded to nine additional jurisdictions based on the confirmed existence of known spotted lanternfly populations in these areas, these included Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Howard, Kent, Montgomery and Washington counties and Baltimore City. In 2023, 7 more counties were added, including Allegany, Calvert, Caroline, Prince George’s, Queen Anne’s, Talbot, and Wicomico.

Businesses, municipalities, and government agencies requiring any regulated item’s movement within or from the quarantine zone must have a specialized permit. The permit may be obtained by taking a free online training course and exam through PennState Extension. Examples of regulated articles include landscaping, remodeling, or construction waste; packing materials like wood boxes or crates; plants and plant parts; vehicles; and other outdoor items.

Managers, supervisors, or employees of a business or organization operating in the quarantine zone must receive the training and pass the exam to demonstrate a working knowledge and understanding of pest and quarantine requirements. Training for other employees, inspection of vehicles and products, and removal of living stages of spotted lanternflies is also required.

All spotted lanternfly permits for Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware are transferable and valid throughout the region.

The spotted lanternfly poses a major threat to the region’s agricultural industries as it feeds on more than 70 different types of crops and plants, including grapes, hops, apples, peaches, oak, pine, and many others. Originally from Asia, the spotted lanternfly was first detected in Berks County, Pennsylvania, in the fall of 2014. As a known hitchhiker, the spotted lanternfly has also spread to Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Those living within the quarantine zone are encouraged to be vigilant in containing the spread of spotted lanternflies. Sightings may be reported through MDA’s online survey. Other informational materials are available on the program’s website.