🔴 The quarantine zone bumps up from 13 to 21 counties

🔴 Residents are required to follow a checklist

🔴 Certain businesses need a permit for travel

The invasive spotted lanternfly continues to expand its reach in the Garden State.

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture on Wednesday announced that all 21 counties are now officially part of the spotted lanternfly quarantine zone.

Until now, the zone included 13 counties.

"Populations have grown and spread, and it's basically everywhere in the state now," Saul Vaiciunas, a plant pathologist with the Department of Agriculture, told New Jersey 101.5FM.

What does it mean to be part of the quarantine zone?

NJ Dept. of Agriculture
NJ Dept. of Agriculture

The point of the quarantine designation is to get everyone in the state involved in New Jersey's efforts to slow or stop the spread of the pest, which is native to Asia and was initially discovered in the U.S. in Pennsylvania in 2014.

With the quarantine designation, residents 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. The signed checklist is to be kept in the traveling vehicle.

In addition, residents 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."

The quarantine designation appears to mean more for businesses. Operations that routinely travel in and out of the quarantine area are required to have a permit (pictured above), after "taking and passing" a free online training.

Also, the quarantine designation grants access for certain government entities to property where the lanternfly is suspected or confirmed, so that the property can be evaluated and treated, if necessary.

Scraping laternfly egg masses

Spotted lanternfly egg mass (NJ Dept. of Agriculture)
Spotted lanternfly egg mass (NJ Dept. of Agriculture)

New Jersey isn't seeing adult spotted lanternflies in early February, but egg masses are lurking throughout the state, on trees and other outdoor surfaces.

The egg masses should hatch in late April or early May. The insect will then develop through a number of stages before reaching its adult stage in late July or early August. Then the egg laying begins again in September.

"All our staff are out there scraping egg masses. We're up to 65,000 masses scraped for this season," Vaiciunas said.

They mainly hit "priority locations" such as seaports, airports, train yards, and high-volume shipping operations, he said.

For years, New Jersey has been encouraging to "stomp out" spotted lanternflies, and get rid of any egg masses on their property.

Each egg mass can produce 30 to 50 nymphs. New masses have a light gray mud-like appearance. Older masses are more tan and resemble cracked mud.

Check out this article for ways to destroy egg masses.

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com

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