Carefully consider spraying for lanternfly
To the Editor:
In its recent update on the spotted lanternfly (Times News, May 31), Carbon County announced it will be cooperating with the USDA and is advising that Carbon County residents allow the USDA to spray their properties with insecticide as part of the spotted lanternfly eradication program. The decision to allow more pesticide spraying in Carbon County should not be taken lightly.
A decade of gypsy moth spraying in our region has helped to fuel a steep decline in moth and butterfly populations in the Poconos and statewide in Pennsylvania, indicating that spraying does impact nontarget species. Before cooperating with the USDA, it is imperative that Carbon County carefully weigh any potential benefits of spraying for lanternflies against the collateral damage that could occur to beneficial insects and other species that rely on healthy insect populations for survival, such as migratory songbirds, bats and certain aquatic plants and animals.
As part of the Poconos, Carbon County is home to some of the highest concentrations of rare, threatened and endangered insects in Pennsylvania, and as such, the decision to spray here is one that requires very careful consideration. In addition to the environmental impacts, the individual property rights of residents must be considered. There are many organic farmers and growers in Carbon County who might not wish to have their properties sprayed, as well as residents who choose to live in a natural environment inclusive of other species that share their environment, and the rights of those residents should be respected as well.