MORRISTOWN, NJ — As if 2020 hadn't already brought enough to worry about, an invasive pest may be moving into our area. The spotted lanternfly, an invasive insect known for its distinct pattern has been spotted in Springfield and confirmed by the township's department of public works, according to a post on the township website.
Another sighting was also confirmed in nearby Westfield late last month, so here's what you need to know about the bugs, their habitat, and how to report them.
According to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, the lanternfly is an invasive planthopper native to China, India, and Vietnam, it is also established in South Korea, Japan and the U.S. It was first discovered in the U.S. in 2014 and has spread to other counties in Pa., as well as the states of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.
It has four life stages, including one as an egg mass, two as a nymph and one as a full-grown adult. As of press time, quarantined counties where the lanternfly has been definitively spotted include Warren, Hunterdon, Somerset, Mercer, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem Counties
Spotted lanternfly locations in unquarantined counties in New Jersey (like Union County) can be reported to the Department by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 609-406-6943.
When it comes to the lanternfly, the department urges New Jersey residents to "look before you leave." Inspecting all vehicles, trailers, or any outdoor items before you move around or out of a quarantined county is important. If possible, state residents are urged to avoid parking in tree lines and keep their windows rolled up when they park their vehicle.
For more on the spotted lanternfly, including how to look for it on your property, visit the New Jersey Department of Agriculture landing page for the bugs here: https://www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/pi/prog/spottedlanternfly.html
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