The notorious spotted lanternfly continues to wreak havoc on the East Coast as New Jersey adds more counties to its quarantine list.
The spotted lanternfly is an invasive insect that prevents plants from photosynthesizing, causing them to die. In recent days, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture added five new counties to the growing list of areas being overtaken by lanternflies, bringing the state's total to 13.
Meanwhile, Pennsylvania currently has 34 counties in quarantine, with many added in 2021 alone.
“The spotted lanternfly’s excellent hitchhiking skills on all types of transportation have allowed it to spread, making it necessary to expand the quarantine zone,” New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher said in a news release.
The invasive pests also have been recently spotted in Vermont, according to the state's Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.
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New York State Integrated Pest Management put together a map of areas where the spotted lanternfly have been seen, and the map shows the spread is continuing into neighboring states, such as Virginia and Ohio.
New Jersey's latest quarantine additions are Morris, Monmouth, Middlesex, Essex and Union counties, the state Department of Agriculture announced. Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Salem, Somerset and Warren counties were already on the list.
The spotted lanternflies were first spotted in Pennsylvania less than 10 years ago and because they can easily spread, they’ve made their way to northeast and mid-Atlantic areas.
Residents are being asked to follow a checklist before moving outdoor items from the quarantine areas. The New Jersey Department of Agriculture said to look for spotted lanternfly egg masses on items including backpacks, tarps, trash cans, dog houses and kiddie pools.
“While we have crews working throughout the state to treat infestations of the spotted lanternfly, we are seeking the public’s assistance by asking anyone who sees this pest to destroy it whenever possible,” Fisher said.
The spotted lanternflies' in New Jersey are currently in adult stages and will begin laying egg masses through September, according to the news release from NJDA. While they aren’t harmful to humans or pets, they do feed on 70 different kinds of vegetation, the release added.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NJ, PA counties under spotted lanternfly quarantine: invasive pests