Clinton Officials Tackle Gypsy Moth Invasion | News, Sports, Jobs

PROVIDED PHOTO Caterpillars of Lymantria dispar – known as gypsy or spongy moths – are seen on a tree trunk. An increase in the moth population has been reported locally.

LOCK HAVEN – There is a growing gypsy moth problem in Clinton County and throughout the Commonwealth. Clinton County commissioners addressed the issue during Thursday’s ballot meeting.

Moths – also called spongy moths – have been observed locally in large numbers.

Commissioner Jeff Snyder spoke at length about what he called the butterfly “invasion.”

“We got a few phone calls over the week from people complaining about them, asking what they were and what we were doing about them,” Snyder said.

Snyder said he looked up statistics on gypsy moths and the damage the insect can inflict on the environment.

According to Snyder, Pennsylvania has 16.6 million acres of forested land, which covers 58% of the state. The state, he said, will pulverize a total of 203,569 state forest lands.

“This represents 12% of the total state land”, Snyder said.

In Clinton County, he said, the state is spraying 4,385 acres. “More Hyner View,” Snyder said. “Of course, they’re just spraying state property…that’s all I’m asking them to do.”

In the past, Snyder said, the state worked with the treatment of private property.

“They no longer have the funds to do that” Snyder noted.

Snyder said he’s asking the state for help with moth control.

“Once again, I call on state lawmakers to take some of the money they make from timber sales and gas leases and reinvest in spraying the state forests they manage and try reduce this spongy moth problem. We will never eradicate this problem, but at least we can try to stay one step ahead,” Snyder said. “It’s one thing as citizens…you can ask your state legislators to reinvest those dollars before we lose that precious renewable resource that we have in wood.”

Snyder said butterflies can cause serious damage.

“Two years of defoliation and the trees are dead”, he said.

Commissioner Angela Harding said people were contacting the commissioners about the issue, but there was little they could do.

“We are not state legislators. We got a lot of calls this week from people thinking we can do something about it. It’s not us. You have to go to the next level”, said Harding.

Snyder also chimed in.

“If the state wants to turn over those lumber sales and gas leases to us and we get those revenues, we’ll reinvest those dollars,” Snyder said.

“Be careful what you wish for,” joked commissioner Miles Kessinger.

The Clinton County commissioners will meet again in two weeks. There will be no business meeting on Monday, May 30, due to Memorial Day.

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