08.14.22

SCHUMER REVEALS: WITH POCKETS OF UPSTATE NEW YORK NOW INFESTED WITH THE INVASIVE SPOTTED LANTERNFLY; FINGER LAKES WINERIES, TOURISM, & UPSTATE CROPS AT RISK; SENATOR CALLS ON USDA TO DEPLOY FED FUNDS HE ALREADY SECURED TO NYS FOR EDUCATION & ERADICATION; ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL $22M PUSH VIA UPCOMING BUDGET

Schumer Unveils Plan To Squash The Bug Using USDA Funds; Senator Has Secured Over $200M & Now Wants Dollars Sent To NYS ASAP; Will Push For $22 Million More In Upcoming Budget So NY’s Integrated Pest Management Program Can Tap It

Schumer Has Warned About Invasive Spotted Lanternfly For Years, Supporting Fed Account That Will Help Combat Its Spread Via Education & Eradication; Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Hudson Valley, Capital Region, CNY, And More Are Now In The Thick Of It As Bug Feasts

Schumer: It’s More Than Being Spotted, This Lanternfly Has Breached Much Of Upstate New York And Now We Need Fed Action

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer today revealed that nearly every region of Upstate New York has seen the invasive Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) putting Upstate wineries and crops at risk.  Schumer said, uncontrolled, the pesky bug could cost New York State millions if it is not contained. Schumer urged the USDA to tap federal funds from an account he has supported with over $200 million dollars to contain the SLF. Schumer said these funds can be used by New York’s “Integrated Pest Management Program,” and that there is still time to contain the Spotted Lanternfly’s serious threat to New York. Schumer also said fed funds can be used for education and eradication as he made the case for to deliver an additional $22 million in the upcoming fed budget to deal with invasives like the SLF.

“Summer is the perfect time to relax outdoors with a nice New York Riesling, but the rapid spread of the invasive Spotted Lanternfly threatens to suck the life out of our vineyards, agriculture, and great outdoor tourism industry. We need to stomp out this bug before it spreads, otherwise our farmers and local businesses could face millions in damage and an unmanageable swarm,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “For years now, I have warned about the pest, but now we are demanding action because pockets of Upstate New York are now infested by the invasive bug that wreaks havoc on trees, vineyards and crops. This is a multi-million dollar threat to New York’s economy-- both tourism and agriculture are now at risk if the spotted lanternfly goes unchecked. But the good news here is that we have federal funds already in place, that I secured, to help New York contain the bug, and that we will be pushing for more.”

Schumer detailed his two-pronged push to contend with the bug. First, Schumer said that he is calling on the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to use the over $200 million for the Specialty Crops Pests program he secured in the recent appropriations bill, including $1 million allocated for the control of Spotted Lanternflies, to bolster New York’s ongoing efforts to prevent the insect from spreading in New York.

Over the past year, New York has seen the beginnings of infestations of Spotted Lanternflies in nearly all corners of the state.  Infestations and sighting have been found across the state from the Finger Lakes, to Central Park, to the Hudson Valley, to Ithaca, to the Capital Region, to Central New York, and the Southern Tier. In 2019, following a series of severe infestations in nearby Pennsylvania, researchers at the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences warned that the spotted lanternfly had the potential to cost Pennsylvania’s economy $325 million a year and 2,800 jobs. The senator said that given the increase in SLF infestations in New York in recent years, it is integral that the USDA commit to increased resources and dollars the state needs to fight the SLF proactively before it infests more communities, not after.

Second, Schumer said he is launching a major push to increase federal support for the USDA’s APHIS program by over $22 million in FY23 to enhance their work with states to prevent & mitigate invasive species like the Spotted Lanternfly. Schumer praised the work being done currently by USDA and New York State to monitor for sightings of the SLF and to educate locals on best ways to spot this invasive species. The senator explained, however, that long-sustained funding and planning is required to prevent damage and ensure communities have the resources to stop this bug from coming back and stomping it out wherever it may pop up.  

Schumer said the Spotted Lanternfly poses a risk to New York’s agricultural health, too, because they feed on the sap of more than 70 plant species, which makes plants vulnerable to disease and attacks from other insects. As swarm feeders, SLF’s are known to quickly overwhelm vineyards and orchards, killing grape vines and other fruit bearers or rendering them unusable due the excessive amounts of “honeydew” they release when feeding which can cover the plant and cause mold. Schumer said the spread of the SLF could have particularly devastating impact in places like Finger Lakes, where the wine industry employs thousands of New Yorkers and generates significant economic activity.

New York’s wine and grape industry generates a direct economic impact of $6.65 billion annually, creates over 71,000 jobs, and attracts nearly 5 million tourist visits a year. Similarly, New York’s apple industry contributes $1.3 billion in total economic output, provides more than 8,000 jobs, and produces nearly $4 million in gross domestic product to New York State’s economy. Schumer said that these crops are vital to the continued economic success of New York and it is imperative the federal government provides all necessary resources to control the spread of SLF and protect these iconic New York’s industries.

WABC reported, the New York State Department of Agriculture is encouraging New Yorkers to kill the invasive spotted lanternfly. They reported spotted lanternflies were first seen on Staten Island in August 2020 and have since been spotted across Upstate New York. The agriculture department is partnering with other state and federal agencies to control the spread of lanternflies to other areas.

The State, via its “Integrated Pest Management” program, is also working to control the bug but will need federal funds to continue its work. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is working with the Department of Agriculture and Markets (AGM) and USDA to address SLF. The State says that since it is less expensive and easier to deal with a pest before it becomes widespread, the goal is to find and treat SLF infestations early.  They say extensive trapping surveys are being conducted in high-risk areas throughout the state as well as inspections of nursery stock, stone shipments, and commercial transports. DEC and partner organizations encourage everyone to be on the lookout for this pest. 

To help control this invasive insect, the state, with the help of federal funds, is:

-Conducting trapping surveys, collecting data, and monitoring SLF populations

-Restricting movement of goods brought into NY from quarantined areas in Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia by requiring certain items (such as construction and landscaping materials) have a certificate of inspection issued by impacted state

-Conducting outreach to the public, trade groups, other stakeholders to provide up to date info on SLF

-Educating the public on how to identify SLF, report sightings to the state, and kill the bug; get in the habit of inspecting firewood and outdoor furniture for egg masses; and reminding New Yorkers if they leave the state to inspect their car for SLF before coming back to avoid further spreading them

Exterior Quarantine

To slow the spread of SLF, AGM issued a quarantine that restricts the movement of goods brought into New York from quarantined areas in Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. The quarantine requires regulated articles, such as packing materials, landscaping and construction equipment, and nursery stock to have certificates of inspection issued from the impacted states.

Protective Zones

In an effort to detect SLF early and respond in a timely manner, DEC has established a Protective Zone encompassing 20 counties located near the PA and NJ infestations. Protective Zones allow DEC and its partners to conduct activities such as surveying, monitoring, and management to find and prevent the spread of SLF. Protective Zones are established in the following counties: Bronx, Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Dutchess, Greene, Kings, Nassau, Orange, Otsego, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Tioga, Ulster and Westchester. 

New York State says that if you believe you've found spotted lanternfly in New York:

1)     Take pictures of the insect, egg masses and/or infestation signs as described above (include something for scale such as a coin or ruler) and email to spottedlanternfly@agriculture.ny.gov.

2)     Fill out the Department of Agriculture and Markets' reporting form and note the location (address, intersecting roads, landmarks etc).

 

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