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Penn State Spotted Lanternfly Extension Associate Heather Leach holds a permit. (Steph Crane/WPSU)

(Undated) — Fearing the spread of the spotted lanternfly, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is requiring a permit for businesses transporting goods through a quarantine zone. 

The quarantine zone for the insect includes 14 counties in southeastern Pennsylvania and four counties in New Jersey and Virginia. Since 2014, the lanternfly has expanded its territory from Berks County to 13 Pennsylvania counties. The bugs pose a threat to the state’s $18 billion fruit and timber industries. 

Penn State Spotted Lanternfly Extension Associate Heather Leach says Extension partnered with the Department of Agriculture to create a course for those looking to obtain a permit.

“You can go online and learn about the basic biology and behavior of spotted lanternfly, and then how to inspect your vehicle, how to inspect your shipments,” Leach said.

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The spotted lanternfly. (Photo courtesy: Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture)

So far, 12,000 businesses have received permits. Although only businesses are required to get a permit, Leach says everybody should be on the lookout.

“We are encouraging homeowners to use a checklist every time they move and to make sure they’re not moving very important things that lanternfly eggs tend to be on like firewood, outdoor equipment, outdoor yard games, without checking them,” Leach said.

Businesses transporting goods without a permit could be fined up to $20,000.