N.J. quarantines several counties due to spotted lanternflies and offers tips to eliminate them

(USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.)

Officials with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture announce instructions for handling the spotted lanternfly.

The spotted lanternfly feeds on upwards of 70 different trees and plants. The invasive insect was initially discovered in 2014 in Berks County, Pennsylvania. At present, 26 Pennsylvania counties are under quarantine from the spotted lanternfly. Currently, eight New Jersey counties are under quarantine, including Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Mercer and Salem.

Left unchecked, spotted lanternflies will cause serious damage to trees and wreak havoc for N.J. farmers, specifically for those growing grapes, hops and apples.

Residents noting infestations can find a variety of options for treatment on the NJDA website, here. Experts do not recommend using items such as sticky traps, as those harm other wildlife.

Spotted lanternflies will begin laying eggs in early to mid-September. Egg masses should be scraped off where found, double bagged and thrown out. Egg masses can be disposed of by putting in bleach, alcohol or hand sanitizer. Residents can find an instructional video on disposing of egg masses, here.

Spotted lanternflies fly only short distances. They travel by hopping from plant to plant. They also attach themselves to moving vehicles. Officials with NJDA ask anyone traveling in quarantined counties, both in N.J. or Pennsylvania, to check their vehicles for the insect, as the unwanted visitor could be traveling unbeknownst through quarantined areas on a vehicle. 

“NJDA and USDA crews have worked to control the spread of this invasive pest,” NJDA Plant Industry Division Director Joe Zoltowski said. “Its ability to travel easily on any mode of transportation has allowed it to spread. We are asking residents to do their part by eliminating this bug whenever possible.”

Crews have been out across the state treating infestations. For residents in the quarantined counties, crews may ask permission to treat a resident’s property. They will carry proper identification and residents should ask to see proper id.

Additional information about the spotted lanternfly can be found at the New Jersey Department of Agriculture website, here.


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