Maryland Department of Agriculture Further Expands Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Zone

ANNAPOLIS, MD (March 11, 2024) ~ The Maryland Department of Agriculture has taken a significant step in their ongoing efforts to control the invasive spotted lanternfly. In a press release on March 11, 2024, the department announced the expansion of their spotted lanternfly quarantine zone to include two new counties – Charles and Garrett – effective immediately.

This decision comes as a result of the negative impact that spotted lanternflies have on agriculture operations. Maryland Department of Agriculture Secretary Kevin Atticks stated, "As we continue to be vigilant in our approach, we understand the negative impact that spotted lanternflies have on agriculture operations. 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 were known to have established spotted lanternfly populations. In early 2022, the quarantine zone expanded to nine additional jurisdictions based on confirmed sightings of spotted lanternflies in those areas. These included Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Howard, Kent, Montgomery and Washington counties and Baltimore City. In 2023, seven more counties were added: Allegany, Calvert, Caroline, Prince George's, Queen Anne's, Talbot and Wicomico.

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Businesses, municipalities and government agencies within or moving items from the quarantine zone must obtain a specialized permit. This can be done by taking a free online training course and exam through PennState Extension. Examples of regulated articles include landscaping waste; packing materials such as wood boxes or crates; plants and plant parts; vehicles; and other outdoor items.

In order for businesses or organizations operating within the quarantine zone to obtain a permit for movement of regulated items they must have managers or supervisors who have completed the training course and passed the exam demonstrating their knowledge and understanding of pest and quarantine requirements. Other employees must also receive training, vehicles and products must be inspected, and living stages of spotted lanternflies must be removed.

It is important to note that 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. These include grapes, hops, apples, peaches, oak, pine and many others. Originally from Asia, the spotted lanternfly was first detected in Berks County, Pennsylvania in 2014. Since then it has spread to Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.

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Residents living within the quarantine zone are encouraged to be vigilant in containing the spread of spotted lanternflies. Sightings can be reported through MDA's online survey and additional information can be found on the program's website. A map of the new quarantine zone is also available for reference.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture remains committed to controlling the spread of this destructive insect and protecting their agricultural community's interests. With this expansion of the quarantine zone to include Charles and Garrett counties effective immediately, they hope to continue their efforts in controlling the invasive spotted lanternfly.

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