NJ Lanternfly Invasion is on its Way – The invasive and destructive spotted lanternfly virtually disappeared throughout New Jersey with the onset of winter. But as a parting gift, these pesky insects laid hundreds of millions of eggs that are going to hatch very shortly — leading to another invasion.

For those who don’t know, lanternflies are invasive bugs that are strong jumpers and feed on plants. Their presence this summer is expected to be even larger than it was in 2021. The lanternfly population is growing at an alarming rate, in fact.

Three years ago — when the lanternfly invasion started – the initial invasion took place throughout Hunterdon County. Now, it’s coming south toward Central New Jersey as the species continues to spread throughout the Garden State. As the population increases, some areas that were overwhelmed with lanternflies last summer won’t see as many this year…but in other locations we will witness higher levels as the invasion spreads throughout the state.

With millions of lanternfly eggs perched on flat upright surfaces (think: tree branches with smooth bark), we can look ahead with dread to May when they all start to hatch. The insects and their egg masses tend to congregate on the tops of trees, so even if you wanted to scrape them off, you really couldn’t.

The Threat of Lanternflies

They look harmless enough, so what’s so bad about these insects? These pests are considered a nuisance due to their propensity to damage landscapes, plants, trees and entire vineyards, threatening the livelihood of farmers and property owners. Lanternflies originated in China, but have spread rapidly across America where they congregate on trees, fence posts, light poles and even sidewalks due to the warmth from below.

Their natural predators are spiders and praying mantis but birds won’t touch them. This leaves very few predators, which means lanternflies get a free pass to come and go as they please. This invasive species is wreaking havoc across the environment, leaving them fair game for property owners and pest control companies to kill them at will.

Ways to Get Rid of Lanternflies

From squishing them to setting traps, there are things you can do to eradicate lanternflies on your property. But homemade treatments won’t hold a candle to the wide swath of successful treatment provided by experienced pest control experts in New Jersey.

You can:

  • Stomp them: Squishing them seems to be the most effective and immediate way of getting rid of the errant lanternfly.
  • Scrape off the eggs: You can kill the actual bugs in summer but in winter and early spring, the eggs become the target. These brown, scab-like things can be seen on trees, fence posts, rocks and any flat outdoor surface. Use a scraper to press down hard on the mass.
  • Set traps: Wrap the trunk in a sticky band, and place a wire or mesh cage around it to keep other animals such as squirrels and birds from falling victim to it.
  • Call a pro: Your best bet is to call a pest control technician that is experienced and skilled in using safe yet effective insecticides to rid you of your lanternfly problem once and for all.

Contact Cavanaugh’s Professional Termite and Pest Services

If you suspect you have a lanternfly infestation, or spot their eggs now that winter is upon us, contact us at one of our three offices today (Freehold, Flanders, Somerville). We are familiar with this invasive species and will do everything we can to eradicate them from your crops, yard or garden.