No. Not the Q word.

Quarantine!

In the age of COVID-19 the Q word means holing up in your bedroom, having meals left out side your door, not seeing your kids in your own house and generally disappearing from the world.

Quarantine has struck my county of Hunterdon and my previous county of neighboring Somerset. But not that kind of quarantine.

This is all about the spotted lanternfly dreaded by farmers and many others across the Garden State. The invasive species can decimate a lot of agriculture but they’re particularly damaging to grapes in vineyards.

The spotted lanternfly was first in Hunterdon County in 2018 and migrated to Somerset County by 2019. But now the numbers are so explosive that those two counties were just added to the list of quarantined counties.

What does it mean?

Because spotted lanternflies are superior hitchhikers, the quarantine applies to the movement of things like wood products, yard waste, firewood, landscaping, construction and remodeling waste. Also tiles, stone, tarps, outdoor furniture cover, etc.. Even things like lawn mowers and grills and recreational vehicles.

You can move them but they want you to inspect these things first. The state Department of Agriculture advises, “If you are in the quarantine area, please ‘Look Before You Leave.’”

With Hunterdon and Somerset added to the list, the quarantine county list now totals eight. The others are Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Mercer, Salem and Warren.

Of course we’re all still being asked to go on search and destroy missions to wipeout this invasive pest. Also, if you do go into bug assassin mode, did you know you’re supposed to report it? Here’s how.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.

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