New Jersey Department of Agriculture Secretary Douglas H. Fisher is encouraging New Jersey residents to help take part in eliminating Spotted Lanternfly egg masses before they hatch near the end of April or in early May. Secretary Fisher and NJDA Plant Industry Division Director Joseph Zoltowski provide information and instructions on how to find and destroy the egg masses in a video released last week.
“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,” Secretary 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.”
Spotted Lanternfly egg masses hold between 30 and 50 eggs of the invasive species. One sign to look for is a black sooty mold on a tree. The Spotted Lanternfly prefers the Tree of Heaven, which is common in New Jersey. While the Spotted Lanternfly is not a threat to humans or animals, it is known to feed on numerous types of vegetation.
NJDA and USDA crews have combined to treat more than 20,000 acres and have destroyed thousands of egg masses on nearly 600 properties throughout this past winter season.
The Spotted Lanternfly is native to Asia, but arrived in the U.S. in Berks County, PA, on a shipment in 2014. The species has been advancing ever since, causing Pennsylvania to have 34 counties currently under quarantine. The New Jersey counties currently under quarantine are Warren, Hunterdon, Mercer, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem, Somerset and the list is expected to expand.