BLOOMFIELD, NJ – At the most recent Township Council Meeting, Tom Purtell, Bloomfield’s forester since 2019 gave a brief presentation about the sharp increase in spotted lanternflies in town, advising residents to refer to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture for information on how to control an infestation.
This insect has the potential to greatly impact agricultural crops and hardwood trees. SLF feeds on the plant sap of many different plants including grapevines, maples, black walnut, and other important plants in NJ. While it does not harm humans or animals, it can reduce the quality of life for people living in heavily infested areas.
What can you do to help? “Join the Battle, Beat the Bug” The NJ Department of Agriculture’s website, Spotted Lanternfly (nj.gov), has recommended the following:
- Check Your Vehicle: Before leaving a parking lot or work site, inspect vehicles for spotted lanternfly egg or insects. Check doors, sides, bumpers, wheel wells, grills, and roofs. If found, destroy any eggs or insects you find.
- Park with Windows Closed: The spotted lanternfly and its nymphs can enter vehicles unsuspectedly. When parked, make sure to keep windows closed. If possible, try to park 15 feet away from trees if in a quarantine zone.
- Remove and Destroy Pests: Crush nymphs and adult insects. Scrape egg masses into a plastic bag and place in trash.
- Remove Host Trees: Spotted lanternflies prefer the ailanthus tree, also known as “Tree of Heaven.” Try to remove trees from the business property to avoid attracting spotted lanternfly.
- Report Sightings: Contact the state agricultural department to report sightings outside of quarantined zones. If possible, take a picture or capture the insect in alcohol.
“This is going to be a nuisance kind of pest for about two seasons, that’s what seems to be happening,” said Purtell. SLF are expected to stick around until about December, with females laying egg clusters before winter.
The Mayor recommended a plan be put together to formulate solutions in advance of next summer’s life cycle for the Township parks. In the meantime, the best method for curbing their numbers is the classic stomp/squish method, which should be attempted after they have jumped once and have less energy.
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