An insect known for sucking the sap out of trees and plants has been spotted in North Jersey after coming across the border from Pennsylvania.

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture is warning the public to be wary of the spotted lanternfly, which has been seen in various places around Warren County. The fly is native to China, India, and other places in East Asia but was seen in Pennsylvania in 2014, spreading to 13 counties there.

Spotted lanternflies prefer the tree of heaven as its host, which is where they were spotted in New Jersey, state Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher said. The trees in the area were treated to prevent the pests from spreading further, and state officials will be monitoring for any further spread, Fisher said.

While the flight from Pennsylvania to New Jersey is not a long one, the Department of Agriculture said the flies have been known to stick to vehicles to get across state borders. Motorists who cross the border are urged to check their vehicles before coming back into New Jersey in an effort to prevent further spreading of the bugs.

Residents who believe they have seen the spotted lanternfly are encouraged to send pictures to or call the Spotted Lanternfly Hotline at 1-833-223-2840 with as much detailed information as possible.

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