Spotted Lanternfly Eggs: A Threat to New Jersey’s Plants
If you live in New Jersey, you may have noticed some strange-looking egg masses on trees, plants, or other surfaces around your property. These are the eggs of the spotted lanternfly, an invasive insect that can cause serious damage to agricultural crops and hardwood trees. The eggs are expected to hatch soon, so now is the time to act and prevent the spread of this pest.
How did the spotted lanternfly get to New Jersey?
The spotted lanternfly (SLF), Lycorma delicatula, is 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 Pennsylvania in Burks County in 2014 and has spread to other counties in PA, as well as the states of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, New York, Connecticut and Ohio1.
The insect likely arrived in the U.S. on imported goods or plants that were infested with eggs or nymphs. The SLF has a strong preference for the tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima), which is common in New Jersey and often grows along roadsides, railways, and urban areas. The tree of heaven is also native to China and was introduced to the U.S. as an ornamental plant in the 18th century.
Why is it important to control the spotted lanternfly?
The SLF is a serious invasive pest with a healthy appetite for our plants. It uses its piercing-sucking mouthpart to feed on sap from over 70 different plant species, including grapevines, maples, black walnut, and other important plants in NJ. The feeding damage significantly stresses the plants which can lead to decreased health and potentially death.
As SLF feeds, it also excretes honeydew (a sugary substance) which can attract bees, wasps, and other insects. The honeydew also builds up and promotes the growth of sooty mold (fungi), which can cover the plant, forest understories, patio furniture, cars, and anything else found below SLF feeding. 1 The sooty mold can reduce photosynthesis and affect plant growth and fruit production.
The SLF can also pose a threat to New Jersey’s economy and quality of life. The insect can reduce crop yields and quality for farmers and growers, especially for grapes, apples, peaches, and hops. The insect can also be a nuisance for homeowners and outdoor enthusiasts who have to deal with swarms of flying adults or sticky honeydew on their property or equipment.
What can you do to stop the spotted lanternfly?
The best way to stop the SLF is to prevent it from reproducing and spreading. This means destroying the egg masses before they hatch and killing any nymphs or adults that you find. Here are some steps you can take:
- Check your property and nearby areas for egg masses from September to June. Egg masses hold between 30-50 eggs of the invasive species. They are about 1 inch long and 0.5 inch wide, and look like gray or brown mud splatters on flat surfaces. They can be found on trees, plants, logs, stumps, firewood, rocks, fences, walls, vehicles, equipment, furniture, or any other outdoor item.
- If you find egg masses, scrape them off into a container that can be closed and disposed of, such as a plastic bag with a little water and dish liquid. Once the masses have been scraped into the bag, squeeze out the air, seal the bag and squish the eggs in the detergent. Hand sanitizer can also be used instead of detergent.
- If you find nymphs or adults from May to December1, you can kill them by stomping on them or vacuuming them up. You can also use a spray bottle with water mixed with liquid soap and cedarwood oil to spray them. Be careful not to spray beneficial insects or plants.
- If you have tree of heaven on your property or nearby areas, consider removing them or treating them with herbicides. Tree of heaven is an invasive plant that can harm native ecosystems and serve as a host for SLF. However, some tree of heaven may be needed to attract and trap SLF for monitoring and control purposes.1 Consult with a professional arborist or a local extension agent before removing or treating any trees.
- Check your vehicles, equipment, furniture, or any other items that you may move from one location to another for any signs of SLF or egg masses. If you find any, remove and destroy them before transporting the items. This will help prevent the spread of SLF to new areas.
- Report any sightings of SLF or egg masses to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA) by calling 1-833-223-2840 (BADBUG0) or emailing email@example.com. You can also use the NJDA’s online reporting form or download the New Jersey Spotted Lanternfly app on your smartphone. Reporting SLF will help the NJDA track and manage the infestation.
- Educate yourself and others about SLF and its impacts. Learn how to identify and control SLF and share this information with your family, friends, neighbors, and community. You can also join or organize volunteer efforts to scout and remove SLF in your area. Contact your local extension office or conservation district for more information and resources.
How can Bite Back help you with spotted lanternfly control?
If you are looking for a professional and natural way to get rid of spotted lanternflies on your property, Bite Back Tick and Mosquito Control can help. We are a family-owned and operated company that offers eco-friendly and effective solutions for mosquito, tick, and spotted lanternfly control in New Jersey.
We use a green, environmentally friendly product that is made in the USA and shown in studies to be as effective as the neurotoxins used by others.1 Our product is non-toxic and safe for your children, pets, butterflies, and honey bees. It will not harm beneficial insects that are essential for pollination and natural pest control.
We also offer a special add-on service for spotted lanternfly control for only $199.88 + tax for the season up to 1/2 acre. This service includes spraying your property with our natural product to kill any eggs, nymphs, or adults that may be present or hiding. We also inspect your property for any signs of infestation and advise you on how to prevent future outbreaks.
With Bite Back, you can enjoy your yard without worrying about spotted lanternflies or other pests. You can also protect your plants and trees from damage and support the local ecosystem. Contact us today for a free quote and let us help you take back your yard from the spotted lanternfly!