Source: Patch New Jersey
With warmer weather having returned to New Jersey, so has the spotted lanternfly.
While they don’t sting or bite humans or animals, spotted lanternflies can significantly harm crops and trees, creating negative environmental health and economic consequences.
The insect feeds on the sap of many plants important to New Jersey, including grapevines, maples and black walnut. They excrete honeydew, which can attract bees, wasps and other insects. The substance also builds up and promotes the growth of a sooty-looking mold which can cover plants, forest understories, patio furniture, cars and other surfaces.
Spotted lanternflies are native to China, India and Vietnam. They were first discovered in the U.S. in 2014 in Berks County, Pennsylvania and have since invaded Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Connecticut — and New Jersey.
All counties in New Jersey except Cape May have confirmed spotted lanternfly populations, according to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA). Since last August, the NJDA has designated these quarantine zone counties for the insect: Burlington, Camden, Essex, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Salem, Somerset, Union, and Warren.
Because the spotted lanternfly can easily travel when nobody’s looking, the NJDA advises people in quarantine zone counties to do the following:
– Check shipping containers, propane tanks, pallets and other items stored outdoors before they are moved offsite. Inspect incoming goods for egg masses and insects. Businesses operating in quarantine zones must have permits to move equipment and goods. Visit here for more information.
– Remove host trees: Spotted lanternflies prefer the ailanthus tree, also known as “Tree of Heaven.” Try to remove them from the business properties to avoid attracting spotted lanternflies.
– Park with windows closed: When parked, make sure to keep windows closed. If possible, try to park 15 feet away from trees if in a quarantine zone.
– Before driving, inspect your vehicles for spotted lanternfly eggs or insects. Check doors, sides, bumpers, wheel wells, grills and roofs. If found, destroy any eggs or insects you find.
If you see a spotted lanternfly, stomp it out — egg masses, nymphs and adult insects. Scrape into a plastic bag and place them in the trash.
Spotted laternfly sightings and disposals in Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Cumberland, Hudson, Ocean, Passaic, or Sussex counties should be reported to the NJDA. If possible, take a photo.