Eight NJ Counties Put on Lookout for Crop-Threatening Asian Lantern Flies

Sources: CNN; New Jersey Dept. Agriculture


The New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDEP) have placed eight counties under additional quarantine because of an exotic and invasive insect known as the spotted lanternfly.

The insect, native to China and South Korea, poses a risk to more than 70 plant species, including fruit trees, vegetables and vines.

Residents of the quarantined counties — Warren, Hunterdon, Mercer, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem and Somerset — are urged to inspect their cars for the bug before leaving, the NJDEP said in a statement.

The spotted lanternfly is an “excellent hitchhiker” known for its ability to travel quickly by clinging onto vehicles. It’s believed to have traveled from China to Pennsylvania by hitching a ride on a shipment in 2014.

Multiple crews throughout New Jersey are working to treat areas where the bug has been detected. Treatments are focused on the tree of heaven, also known as the Chinese sumac, which the spotted lanternfly is believed to prefer for reproductive purposes.

Description: The spotted lanternfly adult is approximately 1inch long and a half-inch wide at rest. The forewing is grey with black spots, and the wings tips are reticulated black blocks outlined in gray. The hind wings have contrasting patches of red and black with a white band. The legs and head are black; the abdomen is yellow with broad black bands. Immature stages are black with white spots, and develop red patches as they grow.

What to do: If you see egg masses, scrape them off, double bag them and throw them away. You can also place the eggs into alcohol, bleach or hand sanitizer to kill them.

Take a picture: A photograph of any life stage (including egg masses) can be submitted to SLF-plantIndustry @ ag. nj. gov.

Report a site: If you can’t take a specimen or photograph, call the New Jersey Spotted Lanternfly Hotline at 1-833-223-2840 (BADBUG0) and leave a message detailing your sighting and contact information.

Specimens of any life stage can be turned in to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s lab for verification.

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