The USDA plans to spend $17.5 million to stop the spread of the spotted lanternfly

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced on Wednesday that the department would allocate $17.5 million in emergency funding to stop the spread of the spotted lanternfly in Pennsylvania. This is a 503 percent budget increase over last year.

The inch-long, black-dotted, red-winged spotted lanternfly is native to China, India, and Vietnam. It was first discovered in Berks County, PA in 2014. Since then it has spread to 13 different counties in Pennsylvania. Last month, the insect was discovered in Virginia and evidence of it has been reported in New Jersey and Delaware.

The spotted lanternfly has the potential to greatly impact the grape, hops and logging industries. Early detection is vital for the protection of Pennsylvania businesses and agriculture.