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Five more NJ counties under Spotted Lanternfly quarantine zone

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Top view of spotted lantern fly with open wings

Top view of spotted lanternfly, center, in Chester County, Pennsylvania, along with the spotted laternfly on a tree trunk, left, and leaves of a tree of heaven.

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture on Monday added five more counties to the spotted lanternfly quarantine zone.

But so far — fingers crossed — the invasive pest that is a threat to trees and crops has not invaded Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland or Ocean counties.

The newly added counties of Morris, Monmouth, Middlesex, Essex and Union join those already on the list. The others are Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Salem, Somerset and Warren.

First found in 2014 in the U.S. in Berks County, Pennsylvania, it has since spread to much of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and other states.

The lanternfly has the potential to greatly harm the grape, tree fruit, plant nursery and timber industries, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

“The spotted lanternfly’s excellent hitchhiking skills on all types of transportation have allowed it to spread, making it necessary to expand the quarantine zone,” New Jersey Agriculture Secretary Douglas Fisher said. “While we have crews working throughout the state to treat infestations of the spotted lanternfly, we are seeking the public’s assistance by asking anyone who sees this pest to destroy it whenever possible.”

Residents in the quarantine area are required to use a checklist before moving horticultural products or other products, to make sure no egg cases, nymphs or adults are attached.

The spotted lanternfly is currently in its adult stage and will begin laying its egg masses in September.

While the spotted lanternfly cannot survive the winter, its egg masses can, and produce about 30 to 50 nymphs that hatch in the spring. While the spotted lanternfly is of no threat to humans or pets, it does feed on approximately 70 different kinds of vegetation. The pest prefers Tree of Heaven as its host.

The department is also asking for people to check their vehicles before leaving an area known to have spotted lanternflies, which includes the counties in southeastern Pennsylvania, as the spotted lanternfly often attaches itself to wheel wells and other parts of vehicles.

Businesses that routinely travel in and out of the quarantine area are required to take, and pass, free training regarding the spotted lanternfly at bit.ly/3mDGv2d.

The Department is asking anyone who sees a spotted lanternfly to destroy it if possible and go to badbug.nj.gov and click on the spotted lanternfly photo and fill out the report a sighting form.

There are resources links for homeowners and business owners on the same site. Residents can also send the address of the spotted lanternfly sightings to SLF-plantindustry@ag.nj.gov.

REPORTER: Michelle Brunetti Post

609-272-7219

mpost@pressofac.com

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Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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