By: Follow South Jersey Staff
WOODBURY, N.J. — While they may appear exotic and beautiful, the invasive Spotted Lanternfly can be devastating to Gloucester County’s rich agricultural industry.
County residents are being asked to report any sightings of the Spotted Lanternfly around the county.
The Spotted Lanternfly is a threat to over seventy different plant species, including fruit trees, ornamental trees, woody trees, vegetables, herbs and vines, including agricultural crops like grapes and hops.
“The Spotted Lanternfly is a pest that affects the quality of life of Gloucester County residents,” Freeholder Director Robert M. Damminger said in a press release from the county. “We have to combat this insect so it won’t attack the crops that make up a large part of Gloucester County.”
Gloucester County Freeholder Director Robert M. Damminger and Freeholder Jim Lavender are asking residents to be vigilant about looking out for the Spotted Lanternfly in Gloucester County and also about inspecting their vehicles for the insect before leaving Pennsylvania.
The Spotted Lanternfly was first spotted in 2014 in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Freeholder Jim Lavender, Freeholder Liaison to the Department of Parks and the Office of Farmland Preservation, said that the insects are invasive and can be spread long distances by people who move infested material or items containing egg masses.
Egg masses are typically about 1-1.5 inches long and covered with a gray or yellowish-brown, waxy coating. Each egg mass may contain 30 to 50 eggs that will hatch from late April to early May.
“The Spotted Lanternfly dies during the winter but their eggs survive through the cold to hatch in the spring. They do not attack people, pets or livestock but the effects on trees and other plants can be devastating,” Lavender said.
If you see the Spotted Lanternfly, the county recommends that you kill it. If you find an egg mass on a tree, you can scrape them off, double bag them and throw it out. You may also place the eggs into alcohol, bleach or hand sanitizer to kill them. An instructional video is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoFp_MbDiE8.
For more information on the Spotted Lanternfly, please refer to the Rutgers NJAES website, https://njaes.rutgers.edu/spotted-lanternfly/, and the NJDA website, https://www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/pi/prog/spottedlanternfly.html.
Report any Spotted Lanternfly sightings to the state Department of Agriculture’s special hotline number 833-BADBUG-0 (833-223-2840) or send an email to SLFfirstname.lastname@example.org.
If a resident finds the insect, they can do any of the following:
Collect a specimen: Specimens of any life stage can be turned in to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s lab for verification.
Take a picture: With your GPS function turned on your smartphone or a camera with GPS, take a photograph of ANY life stage (including egg masses) and submit picture to: SLFemail@example.com
Report a site: If you can’t take a specimen or photograph, call New Jersey Spotted Lanternfly Hotline at 1-833-223- 2840 (BADBUG0) and leave a message detailing your sighting and contact information
For more information, go to nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/pi/prog/spottedlanternfly.html.