The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is planning to treat four areas in Cloquet, Duluth, Two Harbors, and White Iron Lake near Ely to eradicate gypsy moth infestations detected in those areas last fall. Officials plan to conduct the treatments on Monday, June 4.
The aerial treatments will start as early as 5:15 a.m. in Duluth, followed by Cloquet, Two Harbors, and White Iron Lake near Ely, which will be completed by noon. If weather conditions are not favorable the entire time, any remaining areas will be treated the next day, Tuesday, June 5, starting as early as 5:15 a.m.
The low-flying airplane will be traveling up to a half mile outside the treatment areas as it navigates through the gypsy moth infestation sites. The MDA apologizes for any inconvenience caused by the noise of the plane.
The treatment product, Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki (Btk), is a biological product that is organic certified for food crops. It has no known health effects for humans, pets, birds, fish, livestock, and bees. However, you can avoid it by staying indoors during the treatment and keeping windows closed until a half hour after application. Any residue, which does not cause damage to outdoor items, can be removed with soapy water.
The MDA has set up an Arrest the Pest Info Line at 1-888-545-MOTH with the latest details about treatment dates and times. On the morning of the treatments, you can call the phone number with any questions you may have. Simply press 0 (zero) to speak to someone. The MDA's website (www.mda.state.mn.us/gmtreatments) also has information about gypsy moths and control efforts, and residents can sign up for email or text updates about treatment progress.
Because Btk naturally breaks down in sunlight and gypsy moth caterpillars continue to hatch, a second treatment is needed 7-14 days after the first. Notification will again be made in advance.
Details of treatment areas:
Separate maps of these areas can be found at http://www.mda.state.mn.us/gmtreatments. Click on “2018 Gypsy Moth Treatments”
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, crabapple, 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