HARRISBURG, Pa. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced $17.5 million in emergency funding to fight the spread of the spotted lanternfly in Pennsylvania.
The invasive species was first spotted in District Township in 2014. It has since spread to 12 counties and threatens the state's $18 billion grape, orchard and logging industries.
In an announcement Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue says "decisive action" was needed to stop the insect from spreading to neighboring states.
The USDA says $8.7 million will be spent on a survey and control program for the infested area, $7.5 million will go toward insecticides and herbicides and the rest will fund public education efforts.
Perdue says the effort will begin before the insect starts to re-emerge in the spring.