TRENTON, N.J. – The New Jersey Department of Agriculture is encouraging residents and business owners to go to www.badbug.nj.gov to find information that can assist them in learning how to fight the spotted lanternfly. The webpage includes a timeline for the stages of growth for the insect as well as treatment options.
The spotted lanternfly is currently in the nymph stage, where it is tiny and black with white dots but will soon advance to its next stage and become red with white dots. The bug reaches full maturity in mid-to-late August, when it begins laying egg masses that will hatch next spring. The NJDA continues to ask residents to stomp on or destroy the spotted lanternfly whenever possible.
“The more of these that we can eliminate before they mature, means fewer will reach adulthood,” NJDA Secretary Douglas H. Fisher said. “While we have crews that are working throughout the state to reduce the spotted lanternfly population, everyone can join the fight against this invasive pest.”
Along with the treatment options listed at www.badbug.nj.gov, residents can also use businesses that are licensed pesticide applicators to provide treatments to kill the spotted lanternfly. However, if residents do choose an over-the-counter treatment option, they should carefully follow directions on the product when applying it.
While the spotted lanternfly does not harm humans or animals, it can feed on about 70 different types of vegetation or trees. The pest’s preferred host is the Tree of Heaven, an invasive plant that has been in the United States for decades. The spotted lanternfly is native to Asia and was first found in the U.S. in Berks County, Pa., in 2014. It is considered a plant hopper and can fly only a few feet at a time. However, the spotted lanternfly is an excellent hitchhiker and can travel on almost any kind of transportation for several miles, even in its nymph stages, which has allowed it to spread to several states.
The Department is also asking for people to check their vehicles before leaving an area to make sure the pest is not coming along for the ride. The NJDA has a checklist of items and places on where to look for the spotted lanternfly before leaving an area here. The checklist serves to inform the public about the spotted lanternfly, including how to identify all life stages of the insect and minimize its movement.
–Jeff Wolfe, NJDA