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Growing Gypsy Moth Population Could Damage Central PA Forests


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Growing gypsy moth population could damage central PA forests

by: Yanni Tragellis

Posted:  / Updated: 
 
 

DuBois, PA (WTAJ) – Gypsy moth populations across central Pennsylvania have grown over the past few years, and after a dry 2020, concerns over the damage they could cause is growing.

These growing numbers could be a cause for concern if there is another dry year this year, as the state no longer funds spraying on private land. That means you may have to pay out of your own pocket to save your trees.

If you do not spray your trees, these insects could defoliate the trees, As they continue to eat leaves off of trees. The defoliation occurs as caterpillars hatch their eggs, and as they grow they eat leaves off the tree. As this process continues the trees start to defoliate to the point where they can become completely bare. John Williams is a retired DCNR forestry specialist who lives in Treasure Lake, DuBois, a private area where the state no longer sprays, and he has seen the population grow.

“What I’ve been seeing is a population, a healthy population that seems to be building in our area right now,” Williams said.

The entire DuBois area are currently seeing between 2,000-4,000 egg masses at its highest population. These are unheard of numbers, even to a forest health specialist, who says
in past years you could walk outside and maybe spot one mass on your trees, but today you could spot twenty. Although that number may seem small, he says you have to picture it over a large area.

“If you think of that on an acre basis, that’s really high numbers. In those kind of places where the numbers are that high you’re certainly going to see defoliation,” said Tim Tomon, a forest health specialist from the PA Bureau of Forestry.

You can check for egg masses on your own trees at home. Oak trees tend to be these pest’s favorites to lay eggs on, but recently Tomon says he has spotted them on maple and black cherry trees, too.
When checking your trees, it’s easy to just check eye level and below, but it’s important to try to search as high as you can.

For a list of applicators to spray your private land, or a guide on how to check for gypsy moths, visit the Bureau of Forestry’s website.                                                     SEE VIDEO REPORT    ;   https://www.wearecentralpa.com/news/local-news/growing-gypsy-moth-population-could-damage-central-pa-forests/

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DCNR to begin spraying forests in Gypsy Moth suppression effort


by FOX56 NEWSROOM

DCNR to begin spraying forests in Gypsy Moth suppression effort
DCNR to begin spraying forests in Gypsy Moth suppression effort
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HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN CO. (WOLF) — Today, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced the start of aerial spraying of state woodlands to combat gypsy moth populations poised for spring outbreaks in some sections of Pennsylvania.

“As the insects emerge and begin feeding, the suppression effort will begin in early May,” Dunn said. “Our recent cool, wet springs had emerged as an enemy of the gypsy moth in years past, but populations have climbed in some areas to a point where aerial spraying is needed to keep this invasive pest in check and protect the trees from defoliation.”

DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry will oversee spraying of 146 sites totaling 203,569 acres. Included will be nine state forests, nine state parks, state game lands and sections of the Allegheny National Forest in 19 counties located in south central, central, north central and north west Pennsylvania.

State parks to be sprayed: Black Moshannon, Centre County; Blue Knob, Bedford County; Chapman, Warren County; Colton Point, Tioga County; Hyner View, Clinton County; Kinzua Bridge, Warren County; Leonard Harrison, Tioga County; Little Pine, Lycoming County; and Prince Gallitzin, Cambria County.

“In Pennsylvania, these destructive, invasive insects go through cycles where outbreaks occur every five to 10 years,” said DCNR Forest Health Manager Dr. Donald Eggen. “Populations had declined in years past thanks to the gypsy moth fungus disease and wet spring weather but that no longer is the case for 2021.”

The gypsy moth suppression program is conducted with the goal of preventing defoliation so that trees do not become stressed and succumb to disease, other insect pests, or drought. Aerial spraying will be conducted by helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft.

Targeted sites are determined by surveys of egg masses and other indicators across the state indicating gypsy moth 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 affected the most by the gypsy moth.

Bureau of Forestry experts note the state’s oak stands are especially vulnerable to gypsy moth infestation, often resulting in tree mortality. The loss of habitat, timber, and tree growth are considerable when gypsy moth populations go untreated. A tree begins to significantly suffer when 30 percent or more of its leaf surface is lost.

Biological in nature, the applied insecticides must be ingested by young caterpillars as they feed on emerging foliage.

Begun in 1972, the forest insect spray program is a cooperative effort among DCNR and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service's Forest Health Protection Unit.

The gypsy moth was introduced to North America in 1869 at Medford, Mass., where it was used in a failed silk-production experiment. The gypsy moth first reached Pennsylvania in Luzerne County in 1932, and since then has infested every county.                                                                                               https://wjactv.com/news/local/dcnr-to-begin-spraying-forests-in-gypsy-moth-suppression-effort

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Gypsy moth infestation could lead to major defoliation experts say

by: Alyssa Royster

Posted:  / Updated: 
 

CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – Cicadas aren’t the only ones heavily infesting some areas, but gypsy moths as well.

According to Dr. Donald Eggen, forest health manager with DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry, the insects are really bad this year.

“This is a large infestation, very, very high egg mass numbers. They built up pretty rapidly from last year,” said Eggen.

The reason? Dr. Eggen says it’s due to the warm, dry weather. And while the gypsy moths might look small, he says that they’re a big threat.

“Right now the gypsy moth is in its final stages of being a caterpillar. It’s the largest stage and they’re doing the most feeding,” said Eggen.

Which he says can cause some major damage.

“You can get total defoliation from 250 to 500 egg masses per acre, we were counting 2,000 to 10,000 egg masses per acre. So that’s bad for the tree. Because it just put out that leaf and now the caterpillar came along and ate it and it hasn’t photosynthesized and made food,” said Eggen.

Dr. Eggen says that the tree can make new leaves but they won’t be the same.

“Those leaves aren’t as green, they’re not as efficient in doing photosynthesis. So now that tree is in a weakened state,” said Eggen.

Kelli Hoover, Professor of Entomology at Penn State University says she remembers outbreaks so sever, that it looked like winter during the summer.

“The leaves were just completely defoliated off lots and lots of trees. And people were getting really annoyed with the piles of caterpillars that were piling up on their decks. And you know, you’d walk through the woods and it’d sound like it was raining because they were dropping insect poop from the trees. You needed a hat,” said Hoover.

Currently in her back yard, she says the insects are abundant.

“When I see them I just stomp on them,” said Hoover.

Instead of touching them, as she says the hairs on gypsy moths can cause people to have an allergic reaction.

“I one time had a student who we were doing a lot of work with gypsy moths in the lab and one day she took her gloves off because her hands were really bothering her and they were completely covered in rashes. I had to send her to the hospital in case she had an anaphylactic reaction,” said Hoover.

Which is why Hoover tells people to just be patient with the moths.

“You know they’re not going to be around all that much longer. Maybe a couple of weeks,” said Hoover.

Dr. Eggen agrees saying there’s not anything anyone can do anyway at this point about them.

“When we get to June at this stage of the game it’s too late you needed to do something in the month of May. Our first spray day was May 10 and our last spray day was May 27. We had 8 sprayer crafts and 2 helicopters,” said Eggen.                                                                                                                               SEE VIDEO     ;   https://www.wearecentralpa.com/news/gypsy-moth-infestation-could-lead-to-major-defoliation-experts-say/

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