Minnesota Agriculture Department launches 2012 gypsy moth trapping programThe Minnesota Department of Agriculture will set nearly 18,000 gypsy moth traps across Minnesota this spring as part of its annual program to monitor Minnesota’s forests and urban areas for new infestations of the destructive tree pest.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture will set nearly 18,000 gypsy moth traps across Minnesota this spring as part of its annual program to monitor Minnesota’s forests and urban areas for new infestations of the destructive tree pest. Trapping will cover priority areas including the state’s eastern border, the Twin Cities area, St. Cloud, and the southwestern corner of the state.
Gypsy moth caterpillars eat the leaves of many trees and shrubs, favoring oak, poplar, birch and willow. Infestations typically result in unsightly defoliation, and severe, repeated infestations can kill trees, especially when the trees are already stressed by drought or other factors. The moths are not native to North America, and after being accidentally introduced on the East Coast in the late 1800s, they have spread west state-by-state.
There are effective tools available to identify and control gypsy moth infestations. Minnesota’s early warning system against these moths is a deceptively low-tech network of small, cardboard traps set on trees or poles across the state. The cardboard traps contain a pheromone to lure in male gypsy moths. Once inside the trap, the moths become stuck to the sticky interior surface. Depending on trapping results, the final step may be a localized treatment to control the moths.
Northeastern Minnesota is again expected to be a hot spot for gypsy moths in 2012.
Minnesota is a member of a federal program called “Slow-The-Spread of Gypsy Moth” (STS). For more than a decade, STS has helped Minnesota delay the full-scale invasion of gypsy moths even as the pest’s numbers swelled in Wisconsin and other eastern states.
MDA will also conduct a pilot survey for five invasive pests with similar destructive habits as the gypsy moth. The list includes Asian gypsy moth, nun moth, rosy moth, Siberian moth, and pine-tree lappet. This survey will focus on Duluth and the Twin Cities. To date, none have been found in Minnesota.
More details can be found at www.mda.
state.mn.us/gypsymoth or www.hungrypests.org.