February 11, 2020

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and partner organizations are planning to tackle a gypsy moth infestation in Houston County this spring. In anticipation of the proposed treatment, the department is inviting people to learn about the effort at an open house on Tuesday, February 25.

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. The pests are common in Wisconsin and are now establishing themselves in Minnesota.

The MDA maintains a monitoring program to watch for start-up infestations, and when an infestation is found, the department conducts aerial treatments of the infestation before it can spread. In 2019, the MDA found an infestation west of the city of Hokah. The department is now developing a treatment plan for approximately 1,620 acres between Highway 16 and Highway 44 (SEE MAP). More information on the proposed treatment area can be found here.

A map of the Hokah area proposed gypsy moth treatment

The MDA will host an open house to share information with citizens about the threat gypsy moths pose to the environment and how officials plan to protect the area.

Open house details:
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
7 – 8 p.m.
Hokah Fire Department
9 Mill Street
Hokah, MN 55941

Individuals with a disability who need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this event please contact Marissa Streifel at 651-201-6096 or through the Minnesota Relay Service at 711 as soon as possible.

Residents can also receive text updates about the proposed gypsy moth treatment by texting "MDA HOKAH" to 468-311. Email updates can be received by texting “MDA HOKAH [your email address here]” to 468-311.

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.

For more information on the proposed treatments, go here.


Media Contact
Allen Sommerfeld, MDA Communications