The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture last month pledged $450,000 towards research into the spotted lanternfly, a clear indication that the state is serious about addressing the invasive species and its effect on the economy.
Although indigenous to China, India, and Vietnam, the spotted lanternfly has been detected in several East Coast states. The pest feeds on more than 70 plants and could pose significant risks to businesses that transport agricultural crops and related products. And as the weather starts getting warmer and the transportation of fruit trees gears up, the threats posed by the spotted lanternfly are likely to increase.
Invader Impacts Transportation
Businesses that transport goods through Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia — the states where the invasive planthopper has been confirmed — need to understand their potential risks. It is also imperative to take the necessary action to comply with regulators’ enforcement efforts and limit your exposure. Important steps include:
- Know the quarantined areas. Last year, both Pennsylvania and New Jersey issued quarantines as part of their effort to slow the spread of the spotted lanternfly. Employers should determine whether they are either situated in a quarantined zone or if they have vehicles or products traveling within or through these areas.
- Ensure you’re up to date with mandated training. Businesses that either work within quarantined areas or have vehicles or products traveling through these areas need to obtain special permits that require owners, managers, and supervisors to complete free online training courses. Virginia is also offering training for businesses in the affected areas. Employers should determine which training they require and identify a person within the company to take it.
- Extend training to others. Those who complete state training should make sure to share information with others in their organizations. It is imperative that all drivers know how to spot both the spotted lanternfly and its eggs and are familiar with the proper measures to inspect and clean their vehicles.
- Secure and display permit tags. All business vehicles driving into, out of, or within the quarantine zone require permits. Owners, managers, and supervisors who complete the aforementioned training should make sure to get enough permits to cover all vehicles they oversee. These permits should be prominently displayed to avoid potential fines and penalties or being denied access to an area.
- Ensure drivers are aware of disinfection processes. Aside from the required formal training, employers should make sure that all their drivers know how to properly inspect their vehicles and disinfect them to prevent the spotted lanternfly from spreading and potentially damaging or destroying goods they are carrying.
Aside from the risk of bringing the pest into their premises, businesses could also face liability charges if they contribute to the spread of the spotted lanternfly to new regions or contaminate other companies. These risks highlight the importance of taking action now to protect your organization and your cargo.