The Pennsylvania Game Commission will spray for gypsy moths on more than 32,414 acres of state game lands (SGL) this spring, the largest effort to protect wildlife habitat through spraying since 2008.
Unfortunately in Mountain Top SGL 207 is not one of the SGLs that will be sprayed. SGL 207 is 2,057 acres in Rice, Fairview and Hanover Townships. In Luzerne County only 698 acres in SGL 260 near Shickshinny will be sprayed.
According to David J. Gustafson, Chief, Forestry Division, Bureau of Wildlife Habitat Management, Pennsylvania Game Commission, “PGC and DCNR staff conducted field surveys in the late summer of 2015. We found over 90,000 acres of State Game Lands had been defoliated, and over 83,000 acres had egg masses that would justify spraying for suppression,” states the chief forester. Forestry Division will spray a total of 32,414 acres of gamelands, or 36% of the total defoliated acres.
“Like all things we do, funding becomes the limiting factor,” explains Gustafson. “Through the winter the PGC prioritized our spray locations by looking at the number of egg masses (em) per acre (a predictor of the following spring Gypsy Moth populations) and several other factors, including the condition of the understory in these oak forest types, the presence of critical or unique habitats, and our investments in ongoing habitat management.”
“Once this prioritization was completed, we selected the top priorities in each of the 3 affected Regions (South Central, North East, and South East.) Our data showed an alarming increase in egg masses further west and south, with a decrease from the previous year in the north and east, so our efforts were further prioritized to focus where the population is growing, rather than where it is shrinking,” continues Gustafson.
“SGL 207 survey showed 697 egg masses per acre (em/a), which ranked it 14th of the 22 areas surveyed in the North East Region. Ten areas in the