CRANBURY – Spotted lanternfly nymphs have emerged and have been spotted in Cranbury.
Residents should inspect their properties for the Tree of Heaven and for lanternfly egg masses, and to destroy all egg masses before they hatch. Do not try to eliminate the Tree of Heaven by cutting it down or mowing it over, as it will not destroy its root system but only exacerbate the problem.
The Tree of Heaven is very easy to identify at this time of year by its distinct compound leaves – leaves consisting of leaflets. A single leaf may be 1 to 4 feet long with as many as 40 pointed leaflets. At the base of each leaflet are one to two protruding bumps called glandular teeth. When crushed, leaflets and all plant parts will have an offensive odor described by some as “rancid peanut butter”.
When hatched, a lanternfly nymph will be black with white spots on its body and legs and approximately 1/8-inch in length. After molting in July, they turn red and black with white spots. Nymphs have no wings and cannot fly but are strong jumpers and will jump when prodded or frightened.
If nymphs are on your property, notify the New Jersey Department of Agriculture at https://tinyurl.com/3r9zekba
Most of the manual methods for killing nymphs (tree banding, squashing, etc.) are only minimally effective. The most environmentally effective method is to spray the nymphs directly with neem oil, a naturally occurring pesticide found in seeds from the neem tree. It’s not a foolproof way of killing nymphs, but it’s practically non-toxic to birds, mammals, bees and plants.
The oil is available on Amazon but you may wish to have a pest control professional perform this step.
The most effective way of controlling the lanternfly is to eradicate the Tree of Heaven. Contact a pest control professional to do this. The Tree of Heaven must be treated on July 1 or shortly thereafter.
Specify that triclopyr (via foliar spray or “hack and squirt”) should be applied to all saplings, suckers, female Tree of Heaven and all male Tree of Heaven 8 inches in diameter or less.
Dinotefuran should be applied to the base and roots of all male Tree of Heaven larger than 8 iches in diameter to create “trap trees” to attract and kill adult lanternfly.
In July, the Cranbury Environmental Commission will issue another alert describing control measures that should be taken in the late summer and early fall.
For detailed information on the spotted lanternfly and the Tree of Heaven, along with a full description of the year-long control strategy to prevent the spread of these invasives, visit https://mullenpj.wixsite.com/lanternfly
For more information, contact the Cranbury Environmental Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 609-664-3130.