8 New Jersey counties 'under quarantine' for spotted lanternfly

STATEN ISLAND (WABC) -- The spotted lanternfly is causing major concerns in the Tri-State area.

Officials say one was found on Staten Island in the Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve.

The invasive pest from Asia eats more than 70 types of plants.

In fact, eight counties in New Jersey are under so-called "quarantine" because of the bugs.

- Warren County
- Somerset County
- Hunterdon County
- Mercer County
- Burlington County
- Camden County
- Salem County
- Gloucester County

That means anyone who leaves those counties should do quick inspection to make sure one isn't catching a ride on their car.

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Officials want to prevent a new infestation.

Researchers say the spotted laternfly can quickly multiply and love to feast on plants.

"They're named lanternflies because some of the species in this group have an ornate structure on their head that resembles a lantern that's kinda floating up above them," said Anne l. Nielsen, an entomology specialist at the Rutgers School of Environment and Biological Science.

The bright red, polka-dotted large bugs that hop around are unmistakable and eye-catching, but are a nuisance for homeowners and a threat to farms and vineyards.

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