Residents urged to kill invasive spotted lanternflies swarming building

By CeFaan Kim

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    NORTH BERGEN, New Jersey (WABC) — A call-to-action has been issued throughout a community in New Jersey to exterminate an invasive bug that has swarmed the neighborhood.

Thousands of spotted lanternflies have taken over a building in North Bergen.

“I don’t know where they came, are they leaving? I mean you can’t kill them,” tenant Carol Winfield said. “You step on them, they jump back up. Are they human? Are they aliens?”

Tenants say the flies literally climb up the building and multiply at a very quick rate. They have been seen everywhere in the building.

“They swim in our pool. We’ve seen multiple sometimes 4, 5, 6 at a time can be just swimming in our swimming pool,” said tenant Laurie Jaffe.

“You swat one after the other after the other and they just keep coming,” a tenant said.

One tenant said they kill about a hundred on their terraces a day.

“It is horrendous. They’re on the walls, they’re falling on you while you’re trying to clean,” a tenant said.

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture has signed a campaign called “Join the battle, Beat the Bug, Stomp it Out, Stop the Spotted Lanternfly.”

“While it does not harm humans or animals, it can reduce the quality of life for people living in heavily infested areas,” the department said. “SLF is a serious invasive pest with a healthy appetite for our plants and it can be a significant nuisance.”

“You can’t go out on your terrace, they will fly into your home. My neighbor’s dog ate one, very very sick,” said Jaffe.

Residents in North Bergen say they first appeared last summer.

“They will adhere to people. They like people. I’ve had them stuck in my hair. I’ve had them on my back,” said Jaffe.

As of a month ago, the spotted lanternflies made a comeback.

Tenants and building staff say they’ve begun mitigation efforts this week, including hiring exterminators, to try to get the problem under control.

The building staff and tenants are all over this part of the garden state, but they may just have to wait until pool season is over.

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