The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is planning a second treatment to eradicate a gypsy moth (now known as spongy moth) infestation in Cloquet and Duluth. Officials plan to conduct the treatments on Wednesday, June 29 as early as 5 a.m. in Duluth followed by Cloquet. It may take up to two hours to complete both areas. This schedule is dependent on weather conditions at the time.
The MDA uses a low-flying airplane which will be traveling up to a half mile outside the treatment areas as it navigates through the infestation sites. The MDA apologizes for any inconvenience caused by the noise of the plane.
The Duluth site is approximately 75 acres in the New Duluth Neighborhood, from 98th Ave. W to the railroad tracks and extending from Bowser St. to near Minnesota Highway 39. The Cloquet site encompasses approximately 500 acres around the Sappi mill property, including the area near the St. Louis River and Cloquet Ave.
The treatment product, Foray/Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki (Btk), is a biological product that is certified organic for food crops. It has no known health effects for humans, pets, birds, fish, livestock, bees, and other non-caterpillar insects. However, residents can avoid it by staying indoors during the treatment and keeping windows closed until a half hour after application. Residents can cover gardens or turn on sprinklers during the treatment if they wish. Any residue, which does not cause damage to outdoor items, can be removed with soapy water.
The MDA has set up the Report a Pest Info Line at 1-888-545-MOTH with the latest details about treatment date and time. On the morning of the treatment, residents can call the phone number with any questions they 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. Residents can sign up for updates about treatment progress by texting “MDA MOTH” to 468311 to receive text notifications or texting “MDA MOTH [your email address here]” to 468311 to receive email notifications.
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.
Contact the Minnesota Department of Agriculture at 1-888-545-6684 or ReportAPest@state.mn.us with questions regarding gypsy moth and the planned treatment.
Gypsy Moth Name Background
As of July 2021, the Entomological Society of America (ESA) discontinued the use of “gypsy moth” as a common name for Lymantria dispar. A new common name, spongy moth, was selected by the ESA on March 2, 2022. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture will begin phasing out the discontinued common name and adopting the new common name over the next year in accordance with state and federal regulations.
Allen Sommerfeld, MDA Communications