I thought I was a good citizen. A patriot even. When called upon by the state of New Jersey to kill any spotted lanternflies we see, I’ve done my part. I’ve killed plenty of bugs. I’m known as the go-to bug killer among the bug-squeamish at New Jersey 101.5. Hell, I’ll barehand crush a bug then just wash up. I don’t care.

Now these spotted lanternflies, which first popped up in Pennsylvania in 2014 and migrated to New Jersey, are serious business. They’re an invasive species and will destroy a lot of agriculture. So when we see them, we are all asked to kill them. And we should. They’re not going to hurt you. These aren’t murder hornets or anything.

I’ve stomped a few at home. I squished a few to death at work. What I didn’t do is report it. I didn’t realize I was supposed to.

Turns out for the state to track the spread of the spotted lanternfly they want us bug killers to report our kills on this website.

It’s rather involved.

They want your first and last name, your daytime phone number (really? They might call me with followup questions?), and your email address.

Then there’s a state map you’re supposed to pin as to where you killed it or spotted it. Then they want to know was the location a residence, a farm, a park, a port, airport or railroad, or “other.”

Then they want sighting details such as how many you saw/killed. What type of plant it was on. It’s life stage from egg mass to early nymph to late nymph to adult with handy pictures from which to choose.

Then there’s the date of the sighting/killing and they even want a photograph if you can provide it.

I’ve had an easier time registering my kids for kindergarten. This seems like a lot. I’d have to guess the vast majority of busy New Jerseyans who are doing their part and crushing these bugs aren’t jumping through all these reporting hoops. But we’re asked to do so.

If you don’t want to use the state website you can also report it to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture via email, SLF-plantindustry@ag.nj.gov, or by phone, 833-4BADBUG (833-422-3284).

If you think the reporting system is crazy, here’s something even crazier. A game app has been developed to make killing spotted lanternflies more fun by turning it into a competition. What’s the app called? Squishr, of course.

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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