JERSEY CITY (CBSNewYork)Jersey City officials have an urgent message about a newly detective invasive bug that could destroy the city’s trees and crops – if you see it, kill it.

CBSN New York’s Alice Gainer explains that though they are small, they are dangerous.

The spotted lanternfly made its way over to Pennsylvania from its native Asia five years ago, causing concern ever since.

Now it’s popping up in Jersey City with several residents reporting sightings. The pest is known to feed and lay eggs on trees and crops. The bugs can lay egg masses with up to 50 eggs each.

“It creates these wounds all over the tree and then that just is the entryway for pathogens and fungus to get into the tree, which then causes further issues with the tree, eventually that could lead to the death of the tree,” said Edward O’Malley, Jersey City’s senior forester.

Officials with the city’s Parks Department are worried the bug could wipe out its already fragile urban forestry.

Though there is no reported infestation as of yet, O’Malley says if you see one, take a picture, report it to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, and then kill it and its eggs.

“Please do your best to kill it, remove it. If you see the egg masses, you’ll have to scrape them off with an old credit card or some sort of hard plastic, try to scrape them into a bag,” O’Malley said.

Then mix them with bleach, alcohol or hand sanitizer and throw it out. This will help prevent any further spread.

Residents who see a Spotted Lanternfly are asked to call the New Jersey Department of Agriculture at 1-833-223-2840 (BADBUG0) and the Jersey City Resident Response Center at 201-547-4900.

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