Pennsylvania DCNR to Conduct Forest Pest Spraying

Apr 12, 2001, 01:00 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

    HARRISBURG, Pa., April 12 /PRNewswire/ -- A continued rise in gypsy moth
 populations in some areas of the state will require the Pennsylvania
 Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) to increase aerial
 spraying of woodlands, beginning late this month or early next month depending
 upon insect and foliage development.
     A total of 169,112 acres in 23 counties will be sprayed for the
 suppression of the gypsy moth.  In 2000, 101,364 acres were sprayed, also in
 23 counties, and about 45,000 acres in 13 counties were sprayed in 1999.
     Gypsy moth spraying is planned in the following counties: Adams, Bedford,
 Berks, Blair, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Cumberland, Dauphin, Fayette,
 Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lebanon, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour,
 Northumberland, Perry, Schuylkill, Snyder and Union.
     "As always, this spring's weather will either help or hinder our gypsy
 moth control efforts," said State Forester Dr. James R. Grace.  "If we have
 the abundant wet weather we had last year, it will encourage the spread of the
 fungus that has helped to keep the insect in check in recent years.
     "What we do not want is an abnormally warm spell that can accelerate
 hatching of gypsy moth egg masses.  That is what happened last spring in the
 state's southern counties, and egg masses were hatching about one week early."
     Most of the targeted area will be treated with the biological insecticide,
 Bacillus thuringiensis, variety kurstaki (Btk).  A small portion of state
 forestland -- 4,339 acres -- will be treated with MIMIC, a caterpillar growth
 inhibitor.
     Both will be applied, beginning at dawn, from helicopter or fixed-wing
 aircraft flying about 50 feet above the treetops.
     The area targeted for gypsy moth spraying reflects increased insect
 populations and range, said Larry D. Rhoads, Bureau of Forestry Forest Health
 Manager (Interim) and Forest Pest Suppression Supervisor.
     About 24 percent of the spraying target area -- 41,229 acres -- is
 comprised of private land whose owners have requested treatment and have been
 notified in advance of the spraying, Rhoads said.
     "The balance of the program will involve areas of publicly owned
 recreational land that includes state parks and state game lands; forest
 stewardship land; or publicly owned forestlands," Rhoads said.
     "Prevailing winter and early spring weather actually has been favorable
 for insect survival.  Heavy snow without severe low temperatures actually
 serves to insulate and protect most populations.
     "We have had wintry weather across much of the state, to be sure, but we
 have not had prolonged, extreme cold, and that is good for the insects.
     "Cool, wet spring weather is desirable for the naturally occurring fungus
 that has been helping keep populations in check since the early 1980s.  But
 cold, wet weather is not."
     Last year, 837,594 acres were defoliated by gypsy moths.  In 1999, 281,605
 acres were stripped of foliage.
     Local municipal officials and land managers are cooperating with the
 bureau in the spraying program.  Spraying will begin in the project's
 southernmost counties and end in late May in the northernmost counties.
     Forestry experts identify the larval, or caterpillar, stage of the gypsy
 moth as the most destructive forest pest.  Each year's defoliation often
 occurs in different areas, since moth populations are cyclic in any given
 location.
     Gypsy moth caterpillars hatch and begin feeding from mid- to late-April to
 early to mid-May.  Oak, sugar maple, beech and aspen foliage is affected the
 most.
     If populations are large enough, the insects may strip trees of foliage,
 leaving them weakened and susceptible to disease and attack by other insects.
 A tree is considered defoliated when 30 percent or more of its leaf surface is
 lost.
     Helicopter Applicators Inc. of Gettysburg, Adams County, has been
 contracted to conduct aerial spraying in sections of eight counties at a cost
 of $735,995.  AgRotors Inc., also of Gettysburg, will spray areas of 15
 counties at a cost of $1,289,892.  AeroTech Inc., of Clovis, New Mexico, will
 treat sections of 13 counties at a cost of $1,193,796.
     Although Btk is not considered hazardous to the public, persons coming in
 contact with it should wash with soap and water.  Cars and other surfaces also
 should be cleaned with mild detergent.
     The forest insect spray program is a cooperative effort among DCNR's
 Bureau of Forestry, county and municipal governments, and the U.S. Department
 of Agriculture Forest Service's Forest Health Protection Unit.  County and
 municipal governments share the cost of treating private residential and local
 government-owned lands for gypsy moth suppression.
     Landowners interested in participating in next year's gypsy moth
 suppression program should contact their county gypsy moth program coordinator
 through their county commissioners' offices this June or July.  To qualify for
 the program, residential forestland must be infested with 250 or more egg
 masses per acre.
     The gypsy moth was introduced to North America in 1869 at Medford,
 Massachusetts, where it was used in a silk-production experiment.  The gypsy
 moth first reached Pennsylvania in Luzerne County in 1932, and has since
 infested every county in the Commonwealth.
     For more information on insect pests and other forestry topics, visit the
 DCNR's website through the PA PowerPort at www.state.pa.us or directly at
 www.dcnr.state.pa.us.
 
     CONTACT:  Terry Brady, Deputy Press Secretary of the Pennsylvania
 Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, 717-772-9101.
 
 

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
    HARRISBURG, Pa., April 12 /PRNewswire/ -- A continued rise in gypsy moth
 populations in some areas of the state will require the Pennsylvania
 Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) to increase aerial
 spraying of woodlands, beginning late this month or early next month depending
 upon insect and foliage development.
     A total of 169,112 acres in 23 counties will be sprayed for the
 suppression of the gypsy moth.  In 2000, 101,364 acres were sprayed, also in
 23 counties, and about 45,000 acres in 13 counties were sprayed in 1999.
     Gypsy moth spraying is planned in the following counties: Adams, Bedford,
 Berks, Blair, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Cumberland, Dauphin, Fayette,
 Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lebanon, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour,
 Northumberland, Perry, Schuylkill, Snyder and Union.
     "As always, this spring's weather will either help or hinder our gypsy
 moth control efforts," said State Forester Dr. James R. Grace.  "If we have
 the abundant wet weather we had last year, it will encourage the spread of the
 fungus that has helped to keep the insect in check in recent years.
     "What we do not want is an abnormally warm spell that can accelerate
 hatching of gypsy moth egg masses.  That is what happened last spring in the
 state's southern counties, and egg masses were hatching about one week early."
     Most of the targeted area will be treated with the biological insecticide,
 Bacillus thuringiensis, variety kurstaki (Btk).  A small portion of state
 forestland -- 4,339 acres -- will be treated with MIMIC, a caterpillar growth
 inhibitor.
     Both will be applied, beginning at dawn, from helicopter or fixed-wing
 aircraft flying about 50 feet above the treetops.
     The area targeted for gypsy moth spraying reflects increased insect
 populations and range, said Larry D. Rhoads, Bureau of Forestry Forest Health
 Manager (Interim) and Forest Pest Suppression Supervisor.
     About 24 percent of the spraying target area -- 41,229 acres -- is
 comprised of private land whose owners have requested treatment and have been
 notified in advance of the spraying, Rhoads said.
     "The balance of the program will involve areas of publicly owned
 recreational land that includes state parks and state game lands; forest
 stewardship land; or publicly owned forestlands," Rhoads said.
     "Prevailing winter and early spring weather actually has been favorable
 for insect survival.  Heavy snow without severe low temperatures actually
 serves to insulate and protect most populations.
     "We have had wintry weather across much of the state, to be sure, but we
 have not had prolonged, extreme cold, and that is good for the insects.
     "Cool, wet spring weather is desirable for the naturally occurring fungus
 that has been helping keep populations in check since the early 1980s.  But
 cold, wet weather is not."
     Last year, 837,594 acres were defoliated by gypsy moths.  In 1999, 281,605
 acres were stripped of foliage.
     Local municipal officials and land managers are cooperating with the
 bureau in the spraying program.  Spraying will begin in the project's
 southernmost counties and end in late May in the northernmost counties.
     Forestry experts identify the larval, or caterpillar, stage of the gypsy
 moth as the most destructive forest pest.  Each year's defoliation often
 occurs in different areas, since moth populations are cyclic in any given
 location.
     Gypsy moth caterpillars hatch and begin feeding from mid- to late-April to
 early to mid-May.  Oak, sugar maple, beech and aspen foliage is affected the
 most.
     If populations are large enough, the insects may strip trees of foliage,
 leaving them weakened and susceptible to disease and attack by other insects.
 A tree is considered defoliated when 30 percent or more of its leaf surface is
 lost.
     Helicopter Applicators Inc. of Gettysburg, Adams County, has been
 contracted to conduct aerial spraying in sections of eight counties at a cost
 of $735,995.  AgRotors Inc., also of Gettysburg, will spray areas of 15
 counties at a cost of $1,289,892.  AeroTech Inc., of Clovis, New Mexico, will
 treat sections of 13 counties at a cost of $1,193,796.
     Although Btk is not considered hazardous to the public, persons coming in
 contact with it should wash with soap and water.  Cars and other surfaces also
 should be cleaned with mild detergent.
     The forest insect spray program is a cooperative effort among DCNR's
 Bureau of Forestry, county and municipal governments, and the U.S. Department
 of Agriculture Forest Service's Forest Health Protection Unit.  County and
 municipal governments share the cost of treating private residential and local
 government-owned lands for gypsy moth suppression.
     Landowners interested in participating in next year's gypsy moth
 suppression program should contact their county gypsy moth program coordinator
 through their county commissioners' offices this June or July.  To qualify for
 the program, residential forestland must be infested with 250 or more egg
 masses per acre.
     The gypsy moth was introduced to North America in 1869 at Medford,
 Massachusetts, where it was used in a silk-production experiment.  The gypsy
 moth first reached Pennsylvania in Luzerne County in 1932, and has since
 infested every county in the Commonwealth.
     For more information on insect pests and other forestry topics, visit the
 DCNR's website through the PA PowerPort at www.state.pa.us or directly at
 www.dcnr.state.pa.us.
 
     CONTACT:  Terry Brady, Deputy Press Secretary of the Pennsylvania
 Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, 717-772-9101.
 
 SOURCE  Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources