The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is preparing to treat an area in southern Minneapolis to eradicate a gypsy moth infestation detected in the area last fall. Officials will conduct the treatments in parts of the Keewaydin and Wenonah neighborhoods starting sometime between May 11 and May 22, with the exact dates determined by weather conditions and caterpillar development.
To eradicate the moths before they spread, officials will conduct two aerial applications of Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki (Btk) over the area, spaced 5-10 days apart. Btk is a biological product that is organically certified for use on food crops. It has no known health effects for humans, pets, birds, fish, livestock, bees, and other non-caterpillar insects.
To help area citizens stay informed, the MDA has set up an Arrest the Pest Info Line at 1-888-545-MOTH. The info line will offer the latest details about treatment dates and times. The MDA's website (www.mda.state.mn.us/gmtreatments) also has information about gypsy moth and control efforts. Residents can sign up for text or email notifications via text:
- Text “MDA NOKOMIS” to 468-311 to receive text updates
- Text “MDA NOKOMIS [your email address here]” to 468-311 to receive email updates
Finally, the MDA offers the following tips to residents in the treatment area:
- For the gypsy moth treatment to work, it must begin early in the morning. Treatments may begin as early as 5:15 a.m. Residents in and around the treatment area may be awakened on that day by the noise of a low-flying airplane. The MDA apologizes for any inconvenience.
- The treatment product has no known health effects for humans, but residents may wish to stay indoors during the treatment and keep windows closed for a half hour after application. Residents can cover gardens or turn on sprinklers during the treatment if they wish.
- The residue does not cause damage to outdoor surfaces. However, soapy water will remove any residue on outdoor items.
The treatment area is southeast of Lake Nokomis. It is roughly bordered by E 53rd Street on the north, Highway 62 on the south, 23rd Avenue S on the west, and 35th Avenue S on the east (SEE MAP).
Gypsy 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, gypsy 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.
Allen Sommerfeld, MDA Communications