Watch Out! Christmas Tree Infesting Bug, The Spotted Lanternfly

The Christmas Tree Infesting Bug

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture has found that the spotted lanternfly is now in New Jersey and poses a threat to various crops and trees. This tree-killing insect is an invasive bug from eastern Asia that first appeared in the United States in Pennsylvania in 2014. Since that time, it has been spreading rapidly beyond the state of Pennsylvania.

The spotted lanternfly is known to hitch rides on trucks and cars transporting agricultural products, wood and landscaping materials. Because they prey on trees, like pine trees, they may be clinging to your new Christmas Tree. Once on the tree, they will lay their eggs and multiply.

In New Jersey, the first Christmas tree found to be infested was in a home in Warren County in 2018. The bug was not noticed until the eggs on the tree hatched, and the new Christmas tree infesting bug was in plain sight.

A 2020 Christmas

It is now 2020, and the spotted lanternfly, the Christmas tree infesting bug, has been found across the New Jersey counties of Hunterdon, Somerset, Mercer, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem, and Warren. Recently Morris County has been added to the list. 

Beware! Christmas Tree Infesting Bug, The Spotted Lanternfly

‘Tis the season for holiday decorating and family gatherings. But buyers of Christmas trees BEWARE! Before cutting down that tree or purchasing from a tree farm, here is a new bug to be aware of, the spotted lanternfly. Unlike most of the harmless insects that prey upon your trees like aphids, adelgids, spiders, sawflies, mites and bark beetles, the spotted lanternfly is quite different. While they will not harm people and pests, they can cause devastating harm to our agriculture. Spotted lanternfly feed on their host plants, encouraging fungal growth. Throughout their stages of life, they will kill pine trees, fruit trees and other plants.

Christmas tree growers in New Jersey are well-prepared and knowledgeable to thoroughly inspect and treat their trees to prevent this destructive bug spread. However, things can happen, especially from trees traveling from out of state. 

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture states that all homeowners should familiarize themselves with what this invasive bug looks like and should thoroughly check their Christmas trees outside before bringing inside as an extra line of defense. Their body is yellow with black bands and spotted butterfly wings, resembling a bumble-bee. The size is approximately one inch long by a half-inch wide.

What To Do If You See a Spotted Lanternfly

Beware! Christmas Tree Infesting Bug, The Spotted Lanternfly

If a spotted lanternfly is found or any of its egg masses, it is vital to physically remove the bugs and eggs. Take a look at this homeowner’s management plan The Penn State Extension of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) to help you in controlling the spread.

If you are in a different county than the counties listed below and see the spotted lanternfly, contact the hotline at 833-BADBUG-0 (833-223-2840) or forward an email to Please provide the exact location, town, and county the bug has been found so the state has a record of all sightings to help stop the spread.

New Jersey Spotted Lanternfly Sightings: Burlington, Gloucester, Camden, Mercer, Huntington, Salem, Somerset, Warren and Morris County.

Need more information and help with any of your pest control and wildlife removal needs. Feel free to get in touch with NJ Pest Control. We are a veteran-owned company and will be happy to assist you.