USDA is providing $17.5 million in emergency funding to combat the spotted lanternfly in southeastern Pennsylvania. The insect feeds on more than 70 types of plants and secretes a sticky residue on leaves that can lead to the growth of sooty mold fungus affecting overall plant health. The invasive pest, first spotted in Pennsylvania in 2014, has since spread to a 3,000-square-mile area. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will focus on the outer perimeter of the infestation, while the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture will work on a three-mile perimeter surrounding the core infested area. “We’ve seen a dramatic expansion in the range of this pest over the last year and we need to take decisive action to prevent the spotted lanternfly from spreading throughout Pennsylvania and into neighboring states,” Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said.

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