It’s time to squash spotted lanternfly egg masses before they emerge in late April to early May, according to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.
The pest, considered a threat to agriculture, has slowly made its way into South Jersey since first arriving in the U.S. in Berks County, Pennsylvania, on a shipment from Asia in 2014.
Agriculture Secretary Douglas H. Fisher and Plant Industry Division Director Joseph Zoltowski released a video Wednesday providing instructions on how to find and destroy the egg masses.
“As the temperatures begin to warm and more people are outside on their own properties, we are asking them to look for and destroy spotted lanternfly egg masses,” Fisher said. “The more of these egg masses that can be eliminated now means there will be less of this nuisance pest later in the spring and during the summer.”
The insect was first found in New Jersey in Warren County in 2018, and by last year it was in several South Jersey counties.
Karen Gray has seen hundreds of spotted lanternflies descend on her patio and says killing t…
The New Jersey counties currently under quarantine are Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem in southern New Jersey and Warren, Hunterdon, Mercer and Somerset in central and northern New Jersey.
The Department of Agriculture asks that anyone traveling in these counties do a quick inspection of their car for the lanternfly before leaving. More counties are expected to be added to the list as the pest moves.
The lanternflies’ preferred food is the Asian invasive plant tree of heaven, but they also eat other trees and crops grown for food.
Spotted lanternfly egg masses hold 30 to 50 eggs of the invasive species. One sign to look for to see where spotted lanternflies have been is a black sooty mold on a tree.
NJDA and USDA crews have treated more than 20,000 acres in New Jersey and destroyed thousands of egg masses on nearly 600 properties this winter.
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