NEW JERSEY (PIX11) – As we creep closer to spring, we’re also coming up on the return of spotted lanternflies. But before the bug, come the egg masses. 

“You’re going to have 30-50 individuals coming out of those egg masses, I want to say, end of April, [the] beginning of May,” said Joe Zoltowski, Director of the Division of Plant Industry for the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, who adds that egg masses don’t just grow on trees.

“They can also lay eggs on outdoor furniture. They can lay them on picnic tables. If you have an RV, they can lay them on those, or trailers, if you have them outside,” Zoltowski added.

Egg masses can appear in different shapes and colors, from almost bark-color to faded white. If you see them, officials said you can take a credit card or a butterknife and scrape them.

“There are a lot of egg masses that will lay higher up in the trees,” said Zoltowski. “And so people want to be careful when they’re scraping them. You don’t want to fall off a ladder.”

If you see them on a tree belonging to your city or township, officials said you can make a call or scrape them yourself if you’re careful with the bark.

“If somebody questions what you’re doing, just explain what you’re doing,” said Zoltowski. “And you might do a little outreach and educate someone else as to what to look for and what to do as well.”

But it’s a virtual certainty many eggs will hatch, and trees will become infested.

“The biggest thing is that it’s really a nuisance for homeowners,” said Trent Dicks, a technical manager at Arborjet, a company that makes plant health products. 

Many landscapers use an Arborjet product called Imajet, an insecticide that can be injected into a tree.

“[The spotted lanterflies] feed on it, and then they would die, but it would give you seasonal control and, very simple, an injection,” said Dicks.