Letter to the Editor From NJDA Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher

New Jersey residents continue to be extremely concerned about the invasive Spotted Lanternfly (SLF), leading the New Jersey Department of Agriculture to field many phone calls, emails, and other messages asking what residents can do when they find SLF in their communities.

SLF, Lycorma delicatula, is a relatively new pest to the United States, initially discovered in Berks County, PA in 2014. It is native to Southeast Asia and poses a threat to forests, ornamental trees, and agricultural commodities. It was first discovered in New Jersey in 2018.

All life stages of this insect, from nymph to adult, can fly, hop, or drop right into or onto vehicles – and can easily and quickly be spread. Residents are asked to check their vehicles before driving and destroy any nymph or adult SLF they find on them.

Currently, 48 federal and state personnel are conducting surveys and treatments against this insect throughout the state. A total of 924,128 acres are involved in the project, with treatments occurring on 22,328 acres across 584 properties.

The Department has also asked all municipalities to put the Department’s SLF information and links on their websites. This will help inform residents and businesses about this insect and what they can do to prevent accidental movement.

The Department needs this support, and the ongoing help of residents, to continue fighting this battle that is vitally important to the future of New Jersey agriculture. The NJDA continues working closely with the USDA and Rutgers University to coordinate a state and federal response that brings all available resources to bear.

It will take everyone’s determination to bring this outbreak under control. When you see SLF you are encouraged to destroy them and remove egg masses from trees, plants or other surfaces. To report sightings and find treatment recommendations go to www.badbug.nj.gov and click on the Spotted Lanternfly photo. Sightings can also be reported by emailing [email protected].

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