State’s gypsy moth population drops

Published 9:58 am Wednesday, November 19, 2014

ST. PAUL — At least something good came out of the bitter cold of last winter — Minnesota’s gypsy moth population is down.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture said its traps captured around 500 gypsy moths around the state this year. That’s a major drop from last year’s trap count of over 71,000 of the destructive forest pests.

Brian Aukema of the forest insect laboratory at the University of Minnesota said the decrease in moths is good news, but the pests will bounce back quickly. He said a single surviving egg mass will produce more than 500 hungry caterpillars.

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Gypsy moth caterpillars, which are not native to North America, eat the leaves of many trees and shrubs. Severe, repeated infestations can kill trees, especially when they’re already stressed by drought or other factors.