TRENTON – New Jersey plans to extend the quarantine area for dealing with the spotted lanternfly statewide to all 21 counties, as the destructive pest has completed its spread eastward across the state.

The quarantine area currently covers 13 counties. A proposed Department of Agriculture rule published Monday in the New Jersey Register adds the following ones:

Atlantic

Bergen

Cape May

Cumberland

Hudson

Ocean

Passaic

Sussex

Peril and harm in NJ

The Agriculture Department said it is necessary “to respond to a situation of imminent peril and serious harm to the agricultural industries, environmental resources, and residential areas of New Jersey” and to minimize economic damage to the Northeast’s lumber, viticulture, nursery, and tourism industries.

Spotted lanternfly populations have been identified by federal and state survey personnel within significant portions of the entire state.

“Not only does the spotted lanternfly pose a threat to agricultural industries in New Jersey, it also may be a nuisance to the general population,” the proposed rule says. “The ‘honeydew’ excretions are attractive to hornets, wasps and other stinging insects that aggregate to the area causing potential human health issues and nuisance.”

What do you do about spotted lanternflies in quarantine zone?

People and businesses in the quarantine zone, which will soon include the whole state, are urged to inspect their vehicles for spotted lanternflies that are trying to hitch a ride, as well as check recreational and outdoor household and yard items, as well as building materials, for egg masses.

Click here for a checklist prepared by the state.

October is a prime time for seeing eggs. People are asked to scrape off any egg masses they find, double bag them and throw them away. The masses can also be destroyed by rubbing alcohol, bleach or hand sanitizer.

The bugs feed on the sap of trees and plants, including grapevines crucial to the state’s wineries, and their excretion can weaken and kill them over time.

Where did spotted lanternflies come from?

The spotted lanternfly is an invasive species native to Asia that was first identified in the United States in 2014 in Berks County, Pennsylvania.

The tree of heaven – another invasive species – is particularly attractive to spotted lanternflies. People living in quarantine areas whose properties are found to be infested would be required to pay for the cost of removal of any tree of heaven.

Get our free mobile app

Nurseries, garden centers, farmers and general businesses within a quarantine area may not ship regulated articles outside the quarantine area without permits, compliance agreements or phytosanitary inspections.

Michael Symons is the Statehouse bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at michael.symons@townsquaremedia.com

Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.

What to know about the spotted lanternfly and the tree of heaven in New Jersey

This is especially important now since the Spotted Lanternfly appears to be spreading to more parts of New Jersey. The tree of heaven is a very likely place to find those egg masses come fall.

8 ways to battle the spotted lanternfly in NJ

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM