The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and partner organizations are proposing to treat gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) infestations this spring at four sites in the northeastern part of the state.
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. This pest is found in most of Wisconsin and are now establishing themselves in northeastern Minnesota.
“The gypsy moth is a serious threat to our timber, nursery, and tourism industries, and the insect can be a public nuisance during major outbreaks,” said Kimberly Thielen Cremers, manager of the Plant Pest Regulatory and Mitigation Section. “We need to slow the insect’s spread into Minnesota to protect our natural resources.”
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 and targets the infestation before it can spread.
The four proposed treatment areas include approximately 75 acres in the city of Duluth, nearly 500 acres in the city of Cloquet, and two areas in Lake County totaling approximately 45,100 acres (Two Harbors NE area and Upland Trail area). Residents can view an interactive map on the MDA website to determine if they’re located within one of the proposed blocks.
The treatments will be conducted in June and July, depending on insect development and weather.
Residents in proposed treatment areas are invited to a virtual meeting to learn more about the insect and the treatment methods. Virtual informational meetings for those in Lake County will be held Tuesday, February 15 at 10 a.m. or 6:30 p.m. Those in Cloquet and Duluth can attend one of two meetings held on Tuesday, February 22 at 10 a.m. or 6:30 p.m. To register, go to www.mda.state.mn.us/gmtreatments.
Residents in each of the four proposed treatment areas will also be receiving a postcard with more information. Citizens can also find info on gypsy moth treatments, a sign-up for text or email notifications, and maps at www.mda.state.mn.us/gmtreatments.
Comments on any of the proposed treatments are being accepted through March 15. Comments should be submitted in writing via mail or email to:
Kimberly Thielen Cremers
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
625 Robert Street North
St. Paul, MN 55155
Over the years, the MDA has successfully treated dozens of gypsy moth infestations across eastern Minnesota from Grand Portage to the Twin Cities to Houston County. These successful treatments help postpone the full-scale invasion of gypsy moth, saving local communities and homeowners money and protecting the health of the state’s urban and natural forests.
Gypsy Moth Name Background
As of July 2021, the Entomological Society of America discontinued the use of “gypsy moth” as a common name for Lymantria dispar. A new common name has not yet been selected. The changes will need to be reconciled in accordance with federal and state regulations. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is committed to phasing out the discontinued common name and adopting the new common name when available.
Allen Sommerfeld, MDA Communications