HUNTERDON COUNTY, NJ – The New Jersey Department of Agriculture and United States Department of Agriculture personnel have confirmed the sighting of the spotted lanternfly in Hunterdon County. Hunterdon now joins Mercer and Warren Counties where the Spotted Lanternfly has been confirmed in New Jersey.
The first two sightings led the State Department of Agriculture to quarantine the three counties last month in an effort to prevent the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly.
“The Spotted Lanternfly is in its full adult stage now and these adults are very good at hitchhiking,” said New Jersey Department of Agriculture Plant Industry Division Director Joe Zoltowski. “While we have had numerous reports of individual sightings in the quarantined counties, we have found one substantial infestation in the landscape of southern Warren County.”
While in its full adult stage, the Spotted Lanternfly will lay egg masses on several different types of surfaces, including trees and any flat area, such as concrete, stone, and truck or trailer beds. Egg masses can be found on areas not easily seen, like the underside of tree limbs or flat surfaces. The pest prefers Tree of Heaven as its host, but can feed on 70 other different plant species, including fruit trees, ornamental trees, woody trees, vegetables, and herbs and vines, including agricultural crops like grapes and hops.
The Spotted Lanternfly has the ability to travel on all types of vehicles as well as various landscaping, wood-based materials and agricultural produce. As part of the quarantine, the general public is required to obtain and fill out a checklist before moving any articles on that checklist, which can be viewed here.
The checklist serves to inform the public about the Spotted Lanternfly, including how to identify life stages of the insect and to minimize or eliminate its movement. Business entities that travel in and out of the quarantine area are required to take, and pass, training regarding the Spotted Lanternfly that is available for free from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. New Jersey will accept and recognize the Pennsylvania permit. Those businesses that conduct business exclusively in New Jersey’s quarantine zone must comply with the details outlined in the quarantine order. The quarantine also allows access to property for Department, USDA, or USDA contracted agents where the Spotted Lanternfly is suspected or confirmed in order to evaluate and treat the property if necessary.
The Spotted Lanternfly, which is native to China, India, Vietnam and East Asia, was first located in Pennsylvania in 2014 and has spread to 13 counties there, which are also quarantined.
Surveillance will continue in the immediate areas where the species has been found as well as along the Delaware River border in New Jersey. Department field crews have been conducting surveys for this insect along the New Jersey-Pennsylvania border since 2014, from Warren to Salem Counties with no previous findings before this year. State and USDA officials have several traps along the Delaware River border throughout the state.
If anyone sees a Spotted Lanternfly, they are encouraged to take a photo and dispose of it if possible and then notify the New Jersey Department of Agriculture of its location. The Department is asking for everyone’s help in identifying areas where this insect may be. Residents can email pictures of suspect insects to SLFfirstname.lastname@example.org or call the New Jersey Spotted Lanternfly Hotline at 1-833-223-2840 (BAD-BUG-0) and leave a message detailing your sighting and contact information. For more information about this insect go to state.nj.us/agriculture/divisions/pi/prog/spottedlanternfly.html.