NJDA expands spotted lanternfly quarantine zone, includes Essex County

Photo Courtesy of NJDA
New Jersey is spearheading a campaign to stamp out the spotted lanternfly, above, an invasive insect that can kill local trees and damage the ecosystem.

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher announced Aug. 30 that the N.J. Department of Agriculture has added five counties to the spotted lanternfly quarantine zone. The counties new to the list are Morris, Monmouth, Middlesex, Essex and Union. They join the previously announced quarantine counties of Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Salem, Somerset and Warren.

“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,” 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 check their vehicles and personal belongings for the spotted lanternfly and/or its eggs before traveling outside the zone. Business entities that routinely travel in and out of the quarantine area are required to take, and pass, free training regarding the spotted lanternfly at https://bit.ly/3mDGv2d. Those businesses that interact 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 so that the property can be evaluated and treated, if necessary.

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 department is asking anyone who sees a spotted lanternfly to destroy it whenever possible and then go to www.badbug.nj.gov and click on the spotted lanternfly photo, and then fill out the report a sighting form. There are resource links for homeowners and business owners on that site. Residents can also send the address of the spotted lanternfly sightings to SLF-plantindustry@ag.nj.gov.