Department of Agriculture expands spotted lanternfly quarantine zone

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New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher has announced that the department has added five counties to the spotted lanternfly quarantine zone.

As of Aug. 30, the counties new to the list are Morris, Monmouth, Middlesex, Essex and Union counties.

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 was quoted as saying in a press release.

“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,” he said.

The department is asking people to check their vehicles before leaving an area as the spotted lanternfly has the ability hitchhike on any vehicle for several miles, according to the press release.

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, United States Department of Agriculture, or USDA contracted agents where the spotted lanternfly is suspected or confirmed so the property can be evaluated and treated, if necessary, according to the press release.

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 can 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 about 70 different kinds of vegetation. The pest prefers Tree of Heaven as its host, according to the press release.

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 resources 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