As several states begin to re-open and quarantine restrictions are easing up; residents throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania are having to quarantine for other reasons than Covid-19: the spotted lanternfly.
Originally from China and South Korea, the spotted lanternfly was introduced in Pennsylvania back in September 2014 and was only found in Berks County. However, this species has rapidly spread throughout Pennsylvania and bordering states, including New Jersey and Staten Island. Quarantined counties in New Jersey include Hunterdon, Somerset, Warren, Mercer, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, and Salem.
According to the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, the spotted lanternfly is not harmful to humans but can feed on more than 70 different plant species including but not limited to – fruit trees, vines, hardwood trees, and vegetables. Due to their nature of being a planthopper and flying short distances, they are referred to as “excellent hitchhikers.” It is believed that this is how they arrived in Pennsylvania and is spreading by riding on any form of transportation.
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA) is advising residents in the quarantined counties to inspect their vehicles before traveling. The NJAD is also encouraging residents to destroy the pest when they are spotted in a collective effort to slow down the spreading.
When September approaches, adult spotted lanternflies will begin laying their grayish egg masses and it is advised that residents of these counties scrape the egg masses off, double bag them, and throw away. Setting the masses in bleach and alcohol will kill them as well.