The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) will set approximately 20,300 traps this year looking for gypsy moth. The traps will be set throughout the eastern half of the state as well as spots in south central and southwestern Minnesota (see map).
This work is part of the MDA’s annual detection trapping survey program and is designed to protect Minnesota’s forests and urban areas from new infestations of gypsy moth by detecting potential problem areas.
Survey staff have begun setting traps in the southern part of the state and will start in the northern half of Minnesota this week. Setting the thousands of traps will take several weeks and will be completed by the end of July.
Gypsy moth traps are small, triangle-shaped and made of cardboard. Bigger “milk carton” shaped traps will be set in select areas of Lake and Cook counties – which have been quarantined for gypsy moth since 2014 – to accommodate for a potentially higher number of moths. The traps contain a pheromone to lure in male gypsy moths.
The traps are placed mainly on trees in a grid pattern at a specific distance from each other. The grid allows for the traps to efficiently trap as many male moths as possible. To be successful, it is important to maintain the trapping grid. Citizens are asked not to disturb the traps and to call MDA’s Arrest the Pest line at 888-545-MOTH (6684) or email email@example.com if they would like traps moved or removed from their property.
The goal of the MDA’s trapping program is not to catch all moths that may exist, but to identify areas that may need localized treatments to control the moths.
For decades, gypsy moth has been spreading across the Unites States from its original introduction in New England.
“Our trapping survey program helps us identify and treat start-up gypsy moth infestations as the insect makes its way across the country,” said MDA’s Plant Protection Acting Director Mark Abrahamson. “This work protects industries like tourism and forestry from economic harm, and saves Minnesota’s urban and forested areas from environmental damage.”
Gypsy moth caterpillars are a problem because they eat the leaves of over 300 types of trees and shrubs, favoring oak, poplar, birch and willow. Severe, repeated infestations can kill trees, especially when the trees are already stressed by drought or disease.
For more details about the trapping survey program and gypsy moth, visit the MDA website at www.mda.state.mn.us/gypsymoth.
Allen Sommerfeld, MDA Communications