Grants to help property owners fend off spotted lanternflies


Grant money is being divvied up to help combat spotted lanternflies. The grant money is going to property owners in Berks County, with a focus on trees that attract the bugs. The idea is to attack the problem at the root, more specifically, the tree of heaven roots.

"As you can see, we've got quite a few adults feeding on this tree here," said Evan Corondi with the Berks County Conservation District. "They are also feeding down here."

The district applied for and received grant money for spotted lanternfly abatement on individual properties. The group will divvy up $150,000. Hundreds of applications came in, but the money will cover about 20 properties.

The grants are focused on attacking the Ailanthus tree, or "tree of heaven." It's also an invasive species, and it attracts the flies. The small trees marked with blue will be cut down. The large ones marked with red will be treated with an insecticide, poisoning the insects that feed on them.

"This would be one that we treat with that systemic insecticide and will do so for a few years following the initial treatment to hopefully have some good control of the adult lanternfly," said Corondi.

Some areas in Berks County have reported seeing fewer spotted lanternflies this summer, with other areas are seeing even more.

"An explanation for that there's really no great answer, for we're not real sure. One thing we are fairly certain is they didn't just disappear," Corondi said.

After the trees are marked, contractor will come in later to remove and treat the trees. If more grant money becomes available, this could be something to look forward to for next year.