Two species of dangerous bugs that authorities have been keeping an eye on have now been spotted in two additional Central Jersey counties.

Two weeks ago, the tree-killing spotted lanternfly was seen in Hunterdon County while the potentially deadly Asian longhorned tick was confirmed in Somerset County this week.

Hunterdon is now the third New Jersey county under quarantine for the plant-hopping lanternfly, which can devastate the grape, hops and logging industries. It also has been seen in Mercer and in Warren, where the Department of Agriculture says there is a “substantial infestation.”

Somerset is the seventh county in the state to get the exotic tick, which has been known to kill as many as 15 percent of the people it bites. The ticks that have been tested in New Jersey, however, have not shown signs of carrying dangerous pathogens that could make people sick, officials said.

The latest tick was found on a pet dog. Earlier findings were reported in Bergen, Hunterdon, Union, Middlesex, Mercer and Monmouth counties.

The Asian longhorned tick is small and almost unnoticeable like the more common deer tick.

The tick has been seen at Davidson Mill County Pond Park in Middlesex County, Overpeck County Park in Bergen County, and Watchung Reservation, Houdaille Quarry Park and Briant Park in Union County. It also has been confirmed in eight other states from Arkansas to Connecticut.

Asian longhorned tick (NJ Department of Agriculture)

What to do if you find a tick

According to the Department of Agriculure, follow these steps:

1.Place the tick in a sandwich bag with a postage stamp sized piece of damp (not wet) paper towel;

2.Place that bag inside a larger Ziploc bag and keep it in the fridge until you are able to drop it off;

3. Fill out the submission form and place the form inside the larger Ziploc bag or staple to the top of the Ziploc (not below the seal because the tick might escape);

4.Take the tick and submission form to the drop off location nearest you. If the tick is determined to be the longhorned tick, you will be contacted for follow up surveillance. If we do not contact you the tick was identified as another tick species.

Here is a list of drop-off locations in each county. 

Lanternfly quarantine

NJ Department of Agriculture
NJ Department of Agriculture
NJ Department of Agriculture

Lanternflies, native to East Asia but spotted in Pennsylvania in 2014, like to lay eggs on flat surfaces and the underside of tree limbs. They often infest the tree of heaven but also like fruit trees, ornamental trees, woody trees, vegetables, herbs and vines.

The insects travel on vehicles and on landscaping equipment, wood products and agriculture produce.

Residents traveling with outdoor and certain household items through the quarantine counties are supposed to inspect for the pests using this checklist: https://www.state.nj.us/agriculture/divisions/pi/pdf/NJResidenceSLFChecklist.pdf

New Jersey requires businesses to obtain the free spotted lanternfly training and permit from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

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