By: Michael Mandarino, Follow South Jersey Managing Editor
SOUTH JERSEY — Camden and Gloucester counties are two of 13 New Jersey counties considered to be in the spotted lanternfly’s quarantine zone, according to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.
The spotted lanternfly, an invasive species native to Asia first seen in the United States in 2014, proves no threat to humans. However, it feeds on approximately 70 types of vegetation, and residents are advised to kill the bugs if seen. They’re also advised to report the location of the spotted lanternfly to badbug.nj.gov.
“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,” Douglas Fisher, the New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture, said 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.”
As part of the “quarantine,” residents in 13 New Jersey counties are asked to check a number of different locations, including their vehicles, backpacks, and bicycles, for spotted lanternflies or their egg masses. The bugs themselves can’t survive the winter, but their eggs can. Spotted lanternflies, which are currently in their adult phase, will begin laying their eggs in September and can produce approximately 30 to 50 nymphs.
Spotted lanternflies are, as Fisher noted, “excellent” hitchhikers, and they’re capable of hitchhiking for several miles on vehicles. The state is urging residents to kill any spotted lanternflies they see.
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