Invasive species like the gypsy moth can often travel and disperse on their own quite well. The MDA is concerned about the artificial spread of gypsy moth through human-aided transport over long distances. The gypsy moth is a federally regulated pest which means that its movement is restricted by federal law. Individual moths are impossible to control, so the regulations are set up to curb the human movement of the pest.
The human-aided transport of gypsy moth is the single biggest factor for the spread of infestations.
MDA is proposing a quarantine of Lake and Cook Counties in 2014.
A quarantine is a set of rules intended to prevent the artificial spread of organisms from infested areas to uninfested areas. Quarantines have been established by the states and federal governments to contain known populations of gypsy moths. The quarantines are generally along county lines and are established only after several criteria are met. There are no parts of Minnesota that are quarantined at this time.
Gypsy moths are expert "hitchhikers" and are most commonly transported as egg masses. The female will lay her eggs on any solid surface. The federal government regulates the following list of items that can carry gypsy moths to uninfested areas.
Quarantine violations occur when companies or individuals knowingly transport any life stage of gypsy moth (egg, caterpillar, pupa, or adult) out of the quarantined area. Knowingly transporting uninspected or untreated materials out of quarantined areas can lead to civil or criminal penalties.
There can be local gypsy moth infestations outside quarantined areas so no matter where you travel, thoroughly check your vehicles and outdoor equipment before heading back to Minnesota. Whether you are moving to Minnesota or just coming back from vacation, download a self-inspection checklist (PDF) you can use to make sure an unwanted hitchhiker isn’t traveling with you.
Erich completing a gypsy moth inspection on an evergreen tree.
Notice how he looks all the way down the trunk of the tree.
Compliance agreements are available to businesses that regularly import logs and nursery stock into Minnesota from quarantined areas. These agreements stipulate handling practices that minimize the risk of introducing gypsy moth and other invasive species.
The Gypsy Moth Unit at the MDA produced two industry videos designed to help workers learn about the gypsy moth and understand how to inspect materials for the pest. More information about MDA's Nursery Inspection program.
Arrest the Pest
Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), 625 Robert Street N, St. Paul, MN 55155-2538, firstname.lastname@example.org