National science organization recognizes efforts to slow the spread of gypsy mothsThe American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is giving special recognition to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and other state and federal partners for efforts to slow the spread of gypsy moths.
By: Staff Report, Alexandria Echo Press
St. Paul, Minn. – The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is giving special recognition to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and other state and federal partners for efforts to slow the spread of gypsy moths. The AAAS will be acknowledging the national “Slow-the-Spread of the Gypsy Moth” (STS) Program at its scientific roundtable on March 15 in Washington, D.C.
STS is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service national strategy to manage the gypsy moth in the United States. State and federal partners, located along the leading population edge of the generally infested area, implement STS cooperatively. The purpose of STS is to reduce the overall rate at which the generally infested area expands. Minnesota has been part of this program since 2004.
“The Slow-the-Spread Program helps MDA and our other state and federal partners use the latest technology and science to help protect our environment from invasive species like gypsy moth,” said MDA Plant Protection Director Geir Friisoe. “We appreciate this acknowledgement of our hardworking staff that has played an important role in keeping gypsy moth in check in Minnesota.”
According to AAAS, STS was chosen for this honor because of several factors focusing on research and development. The program has led to the use of cutting-edge geospatial tools and management models. This has enabled better data collection and decision-making. Also, STS has been able to interpret and enhance uses for synthetic formulations of gypsy moth sex pheromones. The use of these pheromones allows for treatment of the moths without harm to any other organism. Through these combined efforts, STS has been able to cut down the rate of gypsy moth spread by 60 percent.
Gypsy moth is one of America’s most destructive tree pests. The insects have 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, with oak, poplar, birch and willow among their preferred hosts. The pests are common in Wisconsin and are now threatening eastern Minnesota. More information about gypsy moths and MDA’s battle against these forest pests can be found on the MDA website at www.mda.state.mn.us/gypsymoth
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is an international non-profit organization with offices in Washington, D.C. and Cambridge, United Kingdom. AAAS serves over 260 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million people. The organization is dedicated to advancing “science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people.”