Officials taking aim at invasive species in Pennsylvania


Invasive species are showing up in Pennsylvania, and Franklin County is taking aim to bring awareness to the public.

It’s something you don’t want to hear: two invasive species spreading in Pennsylvania. Franklin and Cumberland County Commissioners held a briefing with the focus to tackle the Poison Hemlock and Spotted Lanternfly.

“If a cow eats enough of it, it will die. It takes very little for people to get problems and it kills by respiratory distress so it paralyzes your lungs,” said John Schwartzer, Service Forester for Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.  

Schwartzer is talking about how toxic the poison hemlock, a part of the carrot family, can be. Several counties east of Franklin are under quarantine in the hopes of stopping the Spotted Lanternfly, a concern because of the hardwood industry in the area.

“It is very very colorful. It sucks the saps out of plants which weakens the plant. It also has a sticky honeydew that excretes onto our fruits which make them unsalable,” said Schwartzer.

Others like Quincy Township Supervisor Kerry Bumbuagh want more answers. He was fined for not having a certified applicator.

 “We had to go and have to have buy the books and send someone to be certified and like I said we’re doing nothing new today than when we had the certification,” said  Bumbuagh.

Cumberland County resident Elizabeth Grant was surprised to find the hotel she was staying in to be invaded by these pests.

“I was shocked at the numbers of them. I mean they were clearly covering buildings and it was at night too. They were climbing under the street lights,” she said.

County officials say the plan moving forward is to spread awareness to prevent anything worse from happening.

If you think you have found the Spotted Lanternfly, you can contact the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture at (866) 253-7189 or by email here.

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