⚪ Spotted lanternflies are statewide problem

⚪ NJ encourages scraping egg masses in winter

⚪ $3.7M in grants available to combat these pests

State officials have announced a total of $3.7 million made available for communities to battle the spotted lanternfly population, to be spent over the next two years.

Up to $50,000 per county — and up to $20,000 per municipality — was up for grabs for qualified plans for reducing the overall number of the pests, on a first-come, first-served basis.

Spotted Lanternflies (Canva, Townsquare Media)
Spotted Lanternflies (Canva, Townsquare Media)

Communities or counties can apply to be reimbursed for pesticides, traps, backpack sprayers/foggers, low pressure sprayers and other supplies needed for the program.

In the winter months across New Jersey, spotted lanternfly egg masses are laying in wait, attached to trees, each with about 50 nymphs inside.

Hatching begins in the spring — in late April or early May.

Spotted Lanternflies (Canva, Townsquare Media) (1)
Spotted Lanternflies (Canva, Townsquare Media)

The spotted lanternfly can feed on about 70 different types of vegetation — including fruit trees and ornamental trees.

Interested counties and municipalities may apply to receive funds from the state Department of Agriculture, via an application found online.

The state has asked the public to look for and scrape egg masses with a credit card or hard-edged object, when possible.

For tips on scraping egg masses and other information about the species, the state has also setup the following landing page — badbug.nj.gov.

Spotted Lanternflies (Canva, Townsquare Media)
Spotted Lanternflies (Canva, Townsquare Media)

Spotted lanternflies are native to Asia and were first found in the U.S. in Berks County, Pennsylvania in 2014.

The species first was reported in a few counties in NJ in 2018.

By 2023, they had cropped up in all 21 counties.

“We were pleased that many counties and municipalities took advantage of this funding opportunity in 2023, “ NJDA Assistant Secretary Joe Atchison III said in a written release.

He continued “The expanded time frame for this funding will allow for an extended application opportunity, especially in areas where this threat may appear for the first time. The more participants we have in the program increases the chances of significantly reducing the populations of this invasive pest.”

What to know about the spotted lanternfly and the tree of heaven in New Jersey

This is especially important now since the Spotted Lanternfly appears to be spreading to more parts of New Jersey. The tree of heaven is a very likely place to find those egg masses come fall.

Gallery Credit: Mike Brant

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