Residents in more New Jersey counties are now encouraged, or required, to take certain steps before making trips beyond their county's borders, in an effort to limit the spread of the spotted lanternfly, an invasive species from Asia.

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture announced on Monday that five counties have been added to the state's "quarantine zone," bringing the total number of counties to 13.

At the same time, the state continues to ask the public to destroy the pest whenever possible, as crews work throughout the state to treat infestations.

"They're just on a roll. They're going to continue to populate and flourish and move onward into new territories," said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher.

With the quarantine designation, residents in the zone are required to use a checklist before moving any of the articles listed here. The list features dozens of items, including bicycles, campers, firewood, fencing, lawnmowers, and sandboxes. The checklist includes a spot for residents to sign, indicating that they've inspected these items and didn't see the spotted lanternfly or egg masses.

In addition, residents in the zone are asked to check their vehicles before leaving the zone, "as the spotted lanternfly has the ability to hitchhike on any vehicle for several miles."

New to the quarantine list are Morris, Monmouth, Middlesex, Essex, and Union counties. They join Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Salem, Somerset, and Warren, which have made up the quarantine zone since 2019.

Fisher said the lanternfly, which is a threat to many species of plants in New Jersey, is currently in its adult stage throughout New Jersey. Egg laying should begin in September, and the egg masses can be found on trees, wood, and other surfaces through spring.

"Every spotted lanternfly that you eliminate helps us to prevent 50 or 100 for next year," Fisher said. "When you take one out, you're helping us with next year's spread."

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at

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