Penn vet program trains dogs to detect lanternfly eggs

Written by on October 9, 2020

Penn vet program trains dogs to detect lanternfly eggs

By K.C. Lopez

October 9, 2020

Photo | K.C. Lopez / WLVR

Man’s best friend is sniffing out one of Pennsylvania’s biggest threats.

As WLVR’s K.C. Lopez explains, scent detection dogs are being trained to identify spotted lanternfly egg masses.

A canine scent detection program at UPenn’s veterinary school looks promising in the state’s fight against the spotted lanternfly. 

The invasive pest poses a serious threat to Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry. But UPenn researchers say a dog’s nose can sniff out the insects’ eggs with extreme accuracy. 

Dr. Jennifer Essler is from the university’s Working Dog Center. 

“There are tons of animals in the animal kingdom that have as good, or better, olfactory capabilities as dogs but we need to not only train them to find eggs but to tell us that they’ve found the eggs!” Essler said.

And UPenn’s pilot training program comes at the perfect time. Right now is prime egg laying season for the spotted lanternfly. Experts say early egg-mass detection through canine surveillance might just be the edge needed to fight the spread of the insect. A dog’s discovery of egg masses would prompt their destruction and encourage further investigation of the area.

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