13 areas in Minnesota targeted for gypsy moth treatments

Published 6:17 pm Tuesday, March 23, 2021

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Invasive insect continues its push into the state

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and partner organizations are planning to tackle gypsy moth infestations this spring at 13 sites across the eastern part of the state.

Graphic courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture

Gypsy moths are ranked among America’s most destructive tree pests. The insect has caused millions of dollars in damage to forests as it has spread from New England to Wisconsin in recent decades. Gypsy moth caterpillars can defoliate large sections of forest. The pests are common in Wisconsin and are now establishing themselves in Minnesota.

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“The gypsy moth is a serious threat and has the potential to negatively impact our timber, nursery, and tourism industries, and be a public nuisance during major outbreaks,” said Kimberly Thielen Cremers, supervisor of MDA’s Pest Mitigation Unit. “To protect our natural resources, we need to slow gypsy moth’s spread into Minnesota.”

The MDA monitors for gypsy moth each year, watching for start-up infestations. When an infestation is found, the department conducts aerial or ground treatments using an organic insecticide and targets the infestation before it can spread. The 13 treatments totaling 136,400 acres are proposed in Carlton, Hennepin, Houston, Lake, St. Louis, Wabasha, and Winona counties. These areas include portions of the cities of Brownsville, Duluth, Minneapolis, Proctor, Two Harbors, and Winona. The treatments will be conducted from May though July, depending on insect development and weather.

Residents in each of the 13 proposed treatment areas will be receiving a postcard with more information. Citizens can also find info on gypsy moth treatments, text or email notifications, maps, and an address look-up at www.mda.state.mn.us/gmtreatments.