Four of the seven towns in The Observer’s coverage area have applied for — and have received — grants to help fight the spotted lanternfly infestation in the state.
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture announced grant funds were available to counties and municipalities to battle the infestation in May. Interested counties and municipalities had to apply to receive funds from the department. The Murphy Administration, in partnership with the state Legislature, has provided funding to the DOA to reduce SLF populations and minimize its spread.
A total of up to $50,000 per county, and up to $15,000 per municipality was awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis for reimbursement of eligible costs incurred for SLF chemical treatment activities. Kearny, North Arlington, Lyndhurst and Nutley took advantage of the program.
“This is an excellent opportunity for counties and municipalities in New Jersey to take advantage of this funding that can assist them in helping reduce the populations of this pest,” NJDA Secretary Douglas Fisher said. “The more participants we have in this program the stronger our campaign will be against this invasive menace.”
The spotted lanternfly is currently in a nymph stage where it is black with white spots. It will mature into red and black with white spots in its next stage, and then reach its adult stage sometime in August.
In addition to this program, home and business owners may visit www.badbug.nj.gov to find information that includes a timeline for the stages of growth for the insect as well as treatment options. Along with the listed treatment options, residents and businesses can also use licensed pesticide applicators to provide treatments to kill the spotted lanternfly.
While the spotted lanternfly does not harm humans or animals, it can feed on about 70 different types of vegetation or trees. The pest’s preferred host is the Tree of Heaven, an invasive plant that has been in the United States for decades. The spotted lanternfly is native to Asia and was first found in the U.S. in Berks County, Pennsylvania, in 2014. It is considered a plant hopper and can fly only a few feet at a time. However, the spotted lanternfly is an excellent hitchhiker and can travel on almost any kind of transportation for several miles, which has caused it to spread to several states.
The DOA asks residents to check their vehicles whenever possible before leaving an area to make sure the pest is not coming along for the ride. The NJDA has a checklist of items and places on where to look for the spotted lanternfly before leaving an area here. The checklist serves to inform the public about the spotted lanternfly, including how to identify all life stages of the insect and minimize its movement.
Harrison, East Newark and Belleville did not, it appears, apply for the grant.
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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.