Researchers may have found spotted lanternfly breakthrough


People in Berks County and beyond are preparing to see the spotted lanternfly again.

The bug was first discovered in the U.S. in Berks County in 2014, threatening $18 billion worth of the state's agricultural products,

But tucked away in a wooded area of Antietam Lake Park in Lower Alsace Township, researchers said they have found what could be a key to stopping the invasive insects.

Researchers from Cornell University released a study this week, saying two fungi native to Berks have been able to infect and kill spotted lanternflies.

Officials with the Berks County Parks and Recreation Department said Assistant Director Brendan Lederer first came across the bug carcasses last year.

"There were lanternflies laying that looked dead but had something growing on them," said Jennifer Brooks, environmental educator for the department.

Yellow bands left behind mark the trees of heaven Cornell researchers studied in October.

More research is needed, but parks officials said they're excited to see if this is the breakthrough they've been waiting for.

"To know that something so simple as a fungus growing within the park here that can essentially wipe out or control the spotted lanternfly population is a pretty big exciting deal, not just for the parks department, obviously, but all of Pennsylvania," said Brooks.