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Home > News, Media & Government Relations > News Releases > MDA to conduct gypsy moth treatments in Houston County on June 28

News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, June 23, 2016

MDA to conduct gypsy moth treatments in Houston County on June 28

Treatment date will depend on weather conditions

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is preparing to treat approximately 6,200 acres of land in Houston County to slow the spread of three gypsy moth infestations identified last year. Officials will conduct the aerial treatments Tuesday, June 28, beginning as early as 7:00 a.m. This date is dependent on weather conditions in the area leading up to the treatment date.

The three areas targeted for treatment include 960 acres south of the city of Houston, approximately 3,000 acres west of Hokah, and nearly 2,300 acres between Freeburg and Reno (descriptions of the treatment areas are below). For an interactive map of the area, go to http://gis.mda.state.mn.us/gmtreatments/ and type in “Houston County, MN.”

Treatments work best in areas where moth populations are still low. Trapping results from 2015 surveys determined these areas had populations of gypsy moth significant enough to be of concern, but low enough for the treatment to still be effective.

The MDA will use a method of mating disruption involving the aerial application of tiny flakes coated with a pheromone that confuses male gypsy moths. This makes it difficult for the male gypsy moths to find females for mating, which means fewer caterpillars hatching and attacking trees next year. Application is timed just as adult moths emerge in mid-summer.

Mating disruption has been widely used for gypsy moth management in Minnesota and across the nation. It is an effective tool that helps slow the spread of the insect as it moves westward across the county. Minnesota has benefited greatly from the use of mating disruption in Wisconsin and other eastern states by keeping new gypsy moth populations at bay.

This work is being coordinated through the national Slow the Spread of Gypsy Moth program directed by the U.S. Forest Service. Minnesota has been part of this program since 2004. These efforts protect forest health, property values, and the state’s tourism industry.

Gypsy moths are among America's most destructive tree pests, having caused millions of dollars in damage to Eastern forests. If present in large numbers, gypsy moth caterpillars can defoliate large sections of forest.

To help area citizens stay informed, the MDA has set up an Arrest the Pest information line at 1-888-545-MOTH (6684). The hotline will offer the latest details about treatment dates and times.

Details of treatment areas:

Houston block (960 acres)
The Houston block stretches from the southern boundary of the city of Houston south into the bluffs. The northern boundary of the block runs along East Mons Street and the southern runs along County Road 4. The western block boundary is parallel to and about 1/10 of a mile west of Westgate Drive (if it continued south of Co Rd 13). The block is bounded on the east by State Highway 76.

Mound Prairie block (2987 acres)
The Mound Prairie block is an irregularly shaped block is just under 2 miles west of the town of Hokah. The south east corner is near the intersection of State Highway 44 and County Road 20. Drawing a line west 1.6 miles to Von Arx Drive forms the southern boundary. From here, the western edge continues north and slightly west 2.8 miles, past State Hwy 16, to a point just north of Carlson Road. The northern boundary goes east 1 mile to County Road 21, then follows the road 3/4 mile southeast. At this point the boundary dips south 3/4 mile to just north of County Road 16 and continues east .6 mile. Turning south 1.6 miles to the intersection of State Highway 44 and County Road 20, forms the eastern edge.

Reno block (2289 acres)
The Reno block is an irregularly shaped block located between Freeburg and Reno. The southwest corner starts at a point .4 mile west from the intersection of County Road 249 and Nelson Valley Road. The southern edge goes 2 1/4 miles west, just past Bramble Road. The western boundary continues 1.4 miles north to County Road 249. The northern boundary roughly follows County Road 249 east 2.6 miles. Turning south 1/2 mile to the southeast corner forms the eastern edge of the block.

CONTACT: Allen Sommerfeld, MDA Communications
651-201-6185 / allen.sommerfeld@state.mn.us

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