Mountaintop Residents Organize To Combat Gypsy Moth Infestation

This year’s gypsy moth infestation is predicted to be even worse than last year, experts say, and many Mountain Top residents are fearful about more damage to their already devastated trees. Compounding their fear is the fact that much land in this area has not met the requirements set out by the county for aerial spraying.

“I’m getting pretty nervous. My house was a mess last year; there was not a leaf to be had on the trees for months. My trees won’t survive a second insult this year,” related Rice Township resident Debbie DiSabatino. Her Wilderness Estates property is not among the land to be sprayed by the county so she’s trying to organize her neighbors to pitch together for private spraying.

DiSabatino isn’t alone in her frustration. Residents and some township officials are also seeking out private contractors to do their spraying, in the hopes that the caterpillars will be killed before they can damage trees and property.

Private aerial sprayers are booking up fast as many have called to schedule to have their properties treated. Since Tallman Aerial Spraying put a notice in the Mountaintop Eagle’s classified section, the company has been flooded with calls from residents.

John Tallman explained, however, that he cannot spray individual properties, but rather needs a 50-acre block of neighbors all in agreement with the spraying. “Adjoining and contiguous is the key,” he related. “Trying to spray a checkerboard area is very difficult and counterproductive.”

Most aerial contractors like Tallman require a large spray block. Still, others, like Rebecca Lynn Flying Service in NY, will spray here in Mountain Top, areas as small as five acres.

The gypsy moth infestation “is going to be terrible this year. We’re almost all booked up already,” said Chuck Webber, owner of Rebecca Lynn. Other aerial sprayers said the same, recommending that anyone seeking private spraying call now.

“I just can’t believe the government isn’t considering this an environmental catastrophe,” DiSabatino went on. “I see a whole lot of nothing done to mitigate this problem.”

Keri Skvarla, coordinator of