CHESTER, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Another invasive insect is spreading its wings into the Tri-State Area, and it likes to feed on fruit trees.
First, Asian long horned beetles caused the demise of thousands of trees on Long Island, eating them up from the inside out. Next, emerald ash borers invaded – the larvae bored into trees and consumed until the stress of the bugs became too much to bear.
Now, there’s a third invasion insect threatening the health of trees in our area – the spotted lanternfly. Native to China, India and Vietnam, it was spotted in Pennsylvania in 2014 and the pest is on the move.
“In four years, it’s traveled to 13 counties in PA, Virginia, New York and Delaware,” said Robert O’Rourke, district manager at Davey Tree Expert Company.
O’Rourke said he believes the species is in New Jersey, too, it just hasn’t been spotted yet. He hopes the public will help look out for the eggs.
He said they’re oval in shape and you’ll see a bunch of them, covered with a waxy coating. Hatching begins in May, then the feeding frenzy begins.
“It will feed on a number of trees, which is the concern, especially for our grapes and our hops,” said O’Rourke. “It creates crevices and sap-oozing type wounds on the trees. The trees will appear wilted.”
Kurt Alstede, owner of Alstede Farms, said if this one crosses the Delaware, he’s most concerned about the impact on his fruit trees – plum, peach, nectarine, apricot, apple and pear.
“We’re going to be putting a sticky ring trap around the trunk of the trees, basically a two-inch wide strip similar to duct tape,” he said.
It will catch the creepers if they do make it to New Jersey. If necessary, controls will be put in place to stop the sap suckers.
In the meantime, Alstede said he’s watching out for the spotted lantern fly.
If you see their eggs, contact an arborist or get rid of them yourself. Just scrape them off into a plastic baggie and douse them with rubbing alcohol.