What helps more than stomping out one spotted lanternfly? Destroying dozens at a time.

The invasive pest from Asia has entered its egg-laying stage throughout the Garden State, and every egg mass has the capacity to hold 30 to 50 of these plant destroyers that are quickly expanding their presence in New Jersey.

And, just as they've been telling you to crush the spotted lanternfly when you see one in its nymph or adult stage, experts are requesting that you wipe out egg masses when they're in reach.

Each year, chances are you'll be seeing more and more of these masses either in your own yard or elsewhere.

The adult lanternfly can't survive New Jersey's cold winter, but most eggs will.

"Every bit that we can do to remove the egg masses is going to help," said George Hamilton, chair of the Department of Entomology at Rutgers University.

Spotted lanternfly egg masses (New Jersey Department of Agriculture)
Spotted lanternfly egg masses (New Jersey Department of Agriculture)

According to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, egg laying runs through December. You may be able to spot them until June — hatching may begin sometime in May.

So, before spring is when you can do the most damage. Egg masses can be found on most flat surfaces outdoors — the best bet is tree bark, but they've been found on lawn furniture, boats, firewood, rocks and other flat surfaces.

New Jersey says says an egg mass is approximately one inch in size. Fresh ones will be covered with a gray mud-like substance. Over time, that substance will start to crack and the color of the egg mass will shift to tan.

Hamilton describes the egg masses as "cryptic." Many photo submissions he receives from residents turn out to be lichen, a fungus, and not a lanternfly egg mass.

Cemetery Preservation
Lichen on a gravestone (AP)

Have you spotted egg masses that you can safely reach? Check out Kylie Moore's post for tips on the best way to destroy the eggs for good.

Below is a video tutorial from the Department of Agriculture for wannabe egg crushers.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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