Spotted lanternfly nymphs look like tiny beetles, but they will quickly grow into destructive pests.
Union County, NJ – July 26, 2022 — Union County residents can help fight back against the spotted lanternfly by destroying the destructive pests while it is still in the early stages of growth. The spotted lanternfly is an invasive species that can weaken trees, damage ornamental plants and destroy fruit trees, hops, vines and other crops. They also secrete a whitish “honeydew” that can grow moldy and dirty outdoor areas, including patios and patio furniture.
Each fall, the adult spotted lanternfly lays eggs on outdoor surfaces, including logs, patio furniture and vehicles. In early summer, the eggs hatch into nymphs that look like small black or bright red beetles speckled with white spots.
Residents who spot the nymphs can use a variety of approved pesticides to kill them. Crushing or whacking them is another option, although they quickly jump away.
“Union County residents and property managers can now take action against this destructive pest by inspecting yards, gardens and landscaping for the nymphs and destroying them before they reach adulthood,” said Commissioner-chairman Rebecca Williams.
The nymphs can be seen on many different types of plants and trees. They are mainly found in clusters on the stems of the common ailanthus tree, or “tree of heaven.”
The nymphs mature into large, moth-like adults that are easily identified by their papery white wings and brightly colored red, black and white underwings and body.
Adults are already starting to emerge. Union County residents who see a spotted lanternfly should kill it immediately by stomping on it. If it jumps away, follow it and try again when it settles down.
The spotted lanternfly belongs to a group of insects called “planthoppers.” They do not bite or sting and do not appear to be toxic to humans or pets. They are native to parts of Southeast Asia and were first seen in Pennsylvania six years ago. They are believed to have arrived in shipments of stone. They were first found in New Jersey in 2018 and have been found in other nearby states as well.
For more information, including photos of the spotted lanternfly and its eggs in various stages, visit the New Jersey Division of Agriculture at nj.gov/agriculture.
Additional information is available from Rutgers University at njaes.rutgers.edu/spotted-lanternfly.
Sightings of the insect can also be reported to Rutgers University through its online reporting tool.
Union County is one of three New Jersey counties participating in a U.S. Department of Agriculture research project to assess various methods to reduce spotted lanternfly invasion. For more information from the USDA, visit aphis.usda.gov/hungrypests/slf.
For quick links to all of Union County’s environmental programs and activities, visit The Green Connection, ucnj.org/green-connection.
Visit ucnj.org/covid19 for information and updates on all of Union County’s services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution and other support services. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.
For all Union County programs and services, visit ucnj.org, call the public information line, 877-424-1234, email email@example.com, or use the online contact form.
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