Spotted Lanternfly detected in Ocean County, New Jersey

Ocean County is a county located along the Jersey Shore, New Jersey. According to horticulturist Susan Emhardt-Servidio of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension, the spotted lanternfly, an invasive species from China, has now been found in Ocean County, around Jackson Township,

“The main concern is fruit trees, peaches and other stone fruits, plus apples and grapevines,” said Emhardt-Servidio.  “It’s a threat to the wine industry and also the beer industry, as it also affects hops.”

The “fly” looks like a moth but is actually a plant hopper that has reddish spots on its wings. As a juvenile or nymph, the SLF causes damage to trees and vines by sucking the sugary sap from the inner bark and depleting the plants’ energy. The sugary sap left in its wake also becomes host to a fungus that attacks trees and fruit. reports that the main problem with the bug is that the adult lays its eggs on anything with a smooth surface: a tree trunk, car or truck roof, even plastic toys, she said. The insect is not a strong flyer but is known to drop onto vehicles. “And with people traveling this summer to the shore – well, we were expecting it.”

Eight counties in New Jersey have been placed in quarantine: Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Salem, Somerset and Warren.

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