The lanternfly, an invasive species that originally came from Asia, is now in eastern Pennsylvania — and New Jersey officials are trying to keep it from crossing the river.

Joe Zoltowski of the State Division of Plant Industry said the problem is that the lanterfly will go after small fruits, vegetables and pine trees. The good news is it is quarantined in eastern Pennsylvania right now.

"They are trying to keep it in their state and eliminate it," Zoltowski  said.

It was first found in Pennsylvania in 2014, and has spread to Easton — just across the Delaware River.  It's a potential threat to the area of Hunterdon and Warren Counties.

Zoltowski is worried that the lanterfly could still migrate into New Jersey. He advises people check anything that they bring in from eastern Pennsylvania for the the insect.

"A simple thing like hitchhiking on somebody's car, moving equipment, moving lawn furniture, that kind of stuff," he said. "If people are moving from Pennsylvania into New Jersey, there could be egg masses that are on there that are very hard to see. And they will hatch out in the spring, and low and behold, we would have them here."

Zoltowski says the next few years will be crucial in the fight against this pest.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5.

More from New Jersey 101.5:

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM