Penn State

Penn State football fans asked to check for hitchhikers after 2 spotted lanternfly sightings

After Penn State’s last home football game, against Pitt on Sept. 14, two spotted lanternfly sightings were reported from University Park.

In an effort to keep the invasive species out of Centre County, Penn State is asking all fans — especially those traveling from southeastern Pennsylvania — to inspect their vehicles for the hitchhikers before coming to Beaver Stadium for Saturday’s noon contest against Purdue.

So far, the insect has been contained to 14 counties — Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia and Schuylkill — also known as “quarantine zones.” And according to a Penn State release, “those on the frontlines of combating the pest want to keep it that way.”

The spotted lanternfly, a native species of Asia, was first discovered in Berks County in 2014. Since then, the pest has spread throughout southeastern Pennsylvania, parts of Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and Delaware. Infestations pose a threat to state nursery, tree fruit, hardwood and grape industries.

Penn State is asking visitors to take the following precautions before traveling:

  • Walk around your vehicle and check closely for any spotted lanternfly adults and/or nymphs; particularly check the windshield wiper area, bumpers and wheel wells. Be certain to check inside the vehicle as well. In fall and winter, also look for egg masses, which have the appearance of mud splatters.
  • Check any piece of equipment or item that you will be transporting that has been outdoors in the quarantine area — such as grills, tents, tables or yard games.

  • Do not park your RV or other vehicles under trees in the quarantine zone. Always keep your windows up.
  • Check yourself before getting into any vehicle to make sure there are no spotted lanternfly nymphs or adults on you.

The areas where the insects were reported to have been seen were surveyed by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. The lanternflies appear to have been brought into the area by visitors, Penn State said. No additional spotted lanterflies were located.

For more information on the Penn State spotted lanternfly quarantine implementation, visit the Environmental Health and Safety website at

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Marley Parish reports on local government for the Centre Daily Times. She grew up in Slippery Rock and graduated from Allegheny College.