Spraying for Spongy Moth has begun. See story below.
….Theft of gasoline from lawnmower in Westfield investigated….Troopers at Ridgway probe old domestic violence case….Spraying for Spongy Moth has begun…..
A theft in Westfield early last Thursday is being probed by troopers at the Mansfield barracks. A thief stole about 2.5 gallons of gasoline from a lawn mower owned by Joseph Hanes of Westfield. The victim’s fence was also damaged.
State police at Ridgway are investigating a cold case taking place on July 20, 2021.Troopers were notified of a domestic violence assault allegedly taking place at 8:30 am that day on Servidea Drive in Ridgway Township. The investigation is continuing.
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has announced the start of aerial spraying of state woodlands to combat spongy moth (Lymantria dispar dispar, formerly known as the gypsy moth) populations poised for spring outbreaks in many sections of Pennsylvania.
Suppression efforts are now as these insects emerge and begin feeding. Aerial spraying is being conducted to keep the invasive pest in check and protect the trees from defoliation to maintain Pennsylvania’s 2.2 million acres of state forests. In 2022, spongy moth defoliated 855,406 acres in Pennsylvania.
DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry will oversee spraying of 274 sites totaling 290,753 acres. Included will be portions of 13 state forests and 18 state parks, in 19 counties located in southcentral, central, northcentral, and northeast Pennsylvania.
The agency’s spraying efforts will cost more than $6 million, using a combination of General Funds, DCNR Special Funds, and Federal Funds.
In 2022, a total of 209,000 acres were treated. In addition to DCNR’s spray program, the Pennsylvania Game Commission will also be conducting an aerial spray program in 2023 on approximately 109,000 acres of State Game Lands.
State parks to be sprayed include:
Bald Eagle, Centre County
Black Moshannon, Centre County
Colton Point, Tioga County
Fowler Hollow, Perry County
Hyner Run, Clinton County
Hyner View, Clinton County
Kettle Creek, Clinton County
Kings Gap, Cumberland
Leonard Harrison, Tioga County
Little Pine, Lycoming County
Ole Bull, Potter County
Pine Grove Furnace, Cumberland County
Poe Paddy, Centre County
Poe Valley, Centre County
Promised Land, Pike County
R.B. Winter, Union County
Ravensburg, Clinton County
Sinnemahoning, Cameron County
DCNR says “In Pennsylvania, destructive, invasive insects go through cycles where outbreaks generally occur every five to 10 years. “Populations had declined in 2019 and 2020 thanks to the spongy moth fungus disease and wet spring weather, but that no longer is the case in 2021 and 2022, resulting in the need for suppression efforts.
The suppression program is conducted with the goal of minimizing defoliation so that trees do not become stressed and succumb to disease, other insect pests, or drought. Aerial spraying will be conducted by one helicopter and seven fixed-wing aircraft. Progress of the spray program can be followed using the interactive map on the DCNR web page, which shows the location of all 274 spray blocks.
Targeted sites are determined by surveys of egg masses and other indicators across the state indicating populations are increasing and have the potential to cause major defoliation.
Feeding while in the larval – or caterpillar – stage, the insect usually hatches and begins feeding from mid- to late April in southern Pennsylvania, and in early to mid-May in the northern part of the state. Oak, apple, sweet gum, basswood, birch, aspen, and willow trees are most affected by the spongy moth.
Bureau of Forestry experts note the state’s oak stands are especially vulnerable to infestations, often resulting in tree mortality. The loss of habitat, timber, and tree growth are considerable when populations go untreated.
A tree begins to significantly suffer when 30 percent or more of its leaf surface is lost.
The applied insecticides, tebufenozide or Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki, must be ingested by young caterpillars as they feed on emerging foliage.
These products are subject to State and Federal environmental review and are deemed safe for use and are commonly used in agriculture.
Launched in 1972, the forest insect spray program is a cooperative effort among DCNR and the USDA Forest Service’s Forest Health Protection Unit.
The Lymantria dispar dispar was introduced to North America in 1869 at Medford, Mass., where it was used in a failed silk-production experiment. The spongy moth first reached Pennsylvania in Luzerne County in 1932, and since then has infested every county.
Visit DCNR’s website for more information on spongy moth spraying