The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is pushing out its timeframe for treating gypsy moths in the Lakeville and Stillwater areas. The first of two treatments over the two areas will now happen sometime between May 20 and May 31. This adjustment is needed because cool, spring temperatures have slowed the hatching of the gypsy moth caterpillars.
Two aerial applications of Foray/Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki (Btk) will be spaced 5-10 days apart over each of the areas. Two treatments are needed because the product quickly breaks down in sunlight. Exact treatment dates for the applications will be determined by weather conditions and caterpillar development.
Btk is a biological product that is organic certified for food crops. Btk 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 also has information about gypsy moths and control efforts. Residents can sign up for email or text notifications there. 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 these treatment areas 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.
Lakeville: A 133 acre area in Lakeville and Scott County’s Credit River Township that runs along the western border of Lakeville and straddles Judicial Road (the county boundary). The majority of the treatment block (106 acres) is located in Lakeville with the remaining 27 acres in Credit River Township.
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