Invasive bugs force New Jersey counties into quarantine

Spotted Laternfly (Photo: The Philadelphia Magazine)

If the quarantine restrictions in New Jersey because of the coronavirus pandemic is not bugging enough, here comes the spotted lanternfly, forcing residents in eight counties under further restrictive measures.

People living in the counties of Warren, Hunterdon, Mercer, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem, and Somerset are being told to inspect their cars for the bug before leaving home.

The insect is native to China and South Korea and poses a risk to more than 70 plant species including fruit trees, vegetables, and vines.

It’s an “excellent hitchhiker” known for its ability to travel quickly by clinging on to vehicles. It made its way to the US in 2014 by hitching a ride on a shipment.

Multiple crews have been dispatched in the areas where the bugs have been spotted in New Jersey, working to get rid of them. Treatments are focused on the tree of heaven, which it’s believed the spotted lanternfly needs to reproduce.