Township of Bloomfield issues guidance to residents regarding spotted lanternfly

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.

BLOOMFIELD, NJ — At the Sept. 19 Bloomfield Township Council meeting, Tom Purtell, Bloomfield’s forester since 2019, gave a brief presentation about the sharp increase in spotted lanternflies in town, advising residents to refer to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture for information on how to control an infestation.

This insect has the potential to greatly impact agricultural crops and hardwood trees. Spotted lanternflies feed on the plant sap of many different plants, including grapevines, maples, black walnut and other important plants in New Jersey. While the insect does not harm humans or animals, it can reduce the quality of life for people living in heavily infested areas. 

What can you do to help? “Join the Battle, Beat the Bug.” On its website at, the N.J. Department of Agriculture has recommended the following:

  • Check your vehicle. Before leaving a parking lot or work site, inspect vehicles for spotted lanternfly eggs or insects. Check doors, sides, bumpers, wheel wells, grills and roofs. If found, destroy any eggs or insects you find.
  • Park with windows closed. The spotted lanternfly and its nymphs can enter vehicles, so keep windows closed and, if possible, try to park 15 feet away from trees.
  • Remove and destroy pests. Crush nymphs and adult insects. Scrape egg masses into a plastic bag and place in trash.
  • Remove host trees. Spotted lanternflies prefer the ailanthus tree, also known as “tree of heaven.” 
  • Report sightings. Contact the state agricultural department to report sightings outside of quarantine zones. If possible, take a picture or capture the insect in alcohol. 

“This is going to be a nuisance kind of pest for about two seasons, that’s what seems to be happening,” Purtell said. Spotted lanternflies are expected to stick around until about December, with females laying egg clusters before winter.