Act Now to Prevent Breeding – Union County

Spotted lanternfly infestations begin with the appearance of small, beetle-like nymphs in the spring, which turn into large, destructive hopping insects over the summer. Union County residents can take steps now to help prevent spotted lanterns from reproducing in the fall and help reduce the habitat for next year’s nymphs.

The spotted lantern’s preferred habitat is the ailanthus tree, or sky tree. Homeowners are advised to consult a professional landscaper or tree service to remove ailanthus on their property. Cutting them down is ineffective, as the tree will grow more around the trunk and continue to attract Mottled Lanterns (photo credit: Union County, New Jersey).

“The spotted lanternfly is a widespread problem in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the surrounding area. Everyone can help reduce the infestation by taking steps to limit their chances of reproducing this fall and reducing their preferred habitat,” said Rebecca L. Williams, chair of the County Commissioner’s Board of Directors. Union.

Over the past year, the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation has worked with the United States Department of Agriculture and the Rutgers Agricultural Experiment Station in New Jersey to evaluate various methods of locating and trapping lanterns and preventing egg masses from hatching. Ring traps have been set up in Watchung Reserve, and they have already captured thousands of Mottled Lanterns.

Union County also brought together staff from the Department of Parks and Recreation, Office of Shade Tree and Conservation, Office of Mosquito Control, Office of Geographic Information Systems and the Union County’s Rutgers Cooperative Extension to focus on infestation control, and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture awarded Union County a grant to control the spotted lanternfly nationwide. county.

The Union County Public Information Office will provide updates on the work of this task force and will continue to provide guidance on spotted lanternfly control for residents. A dedicated page on the county website for Spotted Lantern news and updates has been created at

Mottled lanterns lay their eggs in the fall. Residents can help prevent them from reproducing now, by stomping on any lantern they see.

Residents who have trees on their property can use ring traps to catch nymphs in summer and mature lanterns in early fall. Lanterns are known to feed on the sap of 70 different trees and plants, but the ailanthus tree, or Tree-of-Heaven, is their favorite host.

Please note that duct tape and glue traps should never be used as they can trap birds and beneficial insects. Ring traps are widely available online. They can also be made at home with simple materials.

For more information on ring traps and other environmentally safe methods of trapping nymphs and mature lanternfish, including a link for do-it-yourself ring trap instructions, visit /slf.

Residents can also reduce the preferred habitat of Mottled Lanterns by having ailanthus removed from their property. Because the ailanthus tree is an invasive non-native species, removing it may allow more diverse native species to thrive while reducing the spotted lantern’s breeding opportunities.

However, homeowners are advised to consult a professional landscaper or arborist service to remove ailanthus. Shoots and small saplings can be pulled out by the roots, but large ailanthus require professional treatment with herbicide to prevent them from growing back in greater numbers after cutting.

For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution, and other emergency services. support, visit General information about COVID-19 is available from the New Jersey Department of Health at

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For all Union County programs and services, visit, call the public information line at 877-424-1234, email [email protected], or use the online contact form .

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