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June 14, 2024

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is planning a second treatment on four areas in Carlton County to manage spongy moth infestations detected in those areas last fall. Officials plan to conduct the second round of aerial management activities on the week of June 17.  

The exact date and time of aerial management activities are heavily dependent on weather conditions. For the most up-to-date information on these activities, citizens are encouraged to sign up for text or email notifications.

  • Receive text notifications by texting “MNMDA Treatments” to 66468.
  • Receive email notifications by texting “MNMDA Treatments [your email address here]” to 66468.
  • Or sign up online for text or email notifications.

All management areas in Carlton County are in the eastern portion of the county. Exact locations can be found via maps on the MDA website or an interactive map that is searchable by address. Citizens may notice a low-flying airplane as it navigates the treatment areas. The aerial management activities will start as early as 5 a.m. It may take multiple days to complete the second round of activities. The MDA apologizes for any inconvenience caused by the noise of the plane.

The product being used for these aerial management activities is, Foray/Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki (Btk), applied over each area. Btk is a biological product that is organic certified for food crops. It has no known health effects for humans, pets, birds, fish, livestock, bees, and other insects.

To help area citizens stay informed, the MDA has set up a Report a Pest Info Line at 1-888-545-MOTH with the latest details about treatment dates and times. On the morning of the treatments, residents can call the phone number with any questions they may have. Simply press 0 (zero) to speak to someone. The MDA's website also has information about spongy moths and control efforts.

The MDA offers the following tips to residents in the management area:

  • The management product has no known health effects for humans, but residents may wish to stay indoors during the management activities and keep windows closed for a half hour after application.
  • Residents can cover gardens or turn on sprinklers if they wish.
  • The residue does not cause damage to outdoor surfaces. However, soapy water will remove any residue on outdoor items.

Spongy moths are among America's most destructive tree pests, having caused millions of dollars in damage to Eastern forests. The moths are now threatening Minnesota. If present in large numbers, spongy moth caterpillars can defoliate large sections of forest. Oak, poplar, birch, and willow are among their preferred hosts. The moths spread slowly on their own, but people can unintentionally help them spread by transporting firewood or other items on which the moths have laid their eggs.

Contact the Minnesota Department of Agriculture at 1-888-545-6684 or with questions regarding spongy moth and the planned treatment.


Media Contact
Brittany Raveill, MDA Communications