NEW JERSEY (PIX11) — Officials asked New Jersey residents to join the battle against the spotted lanternfly.
Lanternflies are the pesky, uninvited guests wreaking havoc on the Garden State this summer. The crop-eating insects are causing lots of problems for farmers and homeowners. Experts believe it’s only going to get worse.
The plant-hopping bug, which originated in China and was first spotted in Pennsylvania back in 2014, has surfaced in 11 states. New Jersey is now feeling the brunt of it. A map from the state’s Department of Agriculture shows just now dire the situation is.
Officials say the biggest impact has been to farmers, but homeowners are dealing with issues, too. The persistent bugs have taken up residency on a fence along the side of Luis Bouhot’s Nutley home.
“I’ve tried vinegar, you know other poisons, but they seem to not be dying,” Bouhot said.
According to Dr. Anne Nielsen, an associate professor in entomology at Rutgers University, while lanternflies are hard to get rid of, there are a few homemade solutions that can combat this nuisance. Nielsen said a 1% soap solution works well if you can spread it into the trees.
Or you can call the crew over at Superb Pest Control. The Woodbridge-based company has been inundated with service calls from clients throughout Essex, Middlesex and Union counties. The calls are all asking for help fight back against the lanternfly. It now accounts for a bulk of their business. They use a two-step technique to send the bugs running without harming the plants.
The state is urging residents who see infestations on their property or at local parks to report them immediately. People can email Slfemail@example.com or call 609-406-6943.
Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Dr. Nielsen’s first name. The story has been updated.