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Minnesota Department of Agriculture launches 2010 gypsy moth trapping program

Tue, May 11th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is setting nearly 23,000 gypsy moth traps across eastern Minnesota this spring as part of its annual program to monitor the state's forests and urban areas for infestations of the destructive tree pest.

While emerald ash borer - the state's other high-profile tree pest ‑ attacks only ash trees, gypsy moth caterpillars devour the leaves of many tree species including oak, poplar, birch and willow. Severe infestations and repeated defoliation can kill trees, especially when the trees are already stressed by conditions such as drought. Fortunately, there are several effective treatment options for dealing with gypsy moths - unlike emerald ash borer.

The MDA's early warning system against the moths is a network of small, cardboard traps attached to trees or poles. The cardboard traps contain a pheromone to lure in male gypsy moths. Once inside, the moths become entangled in the sticky interior. In mid-summer and again in the fall, workers remove the traps and count the moths inside. When MDA finds a significant number of moths in an area, it moves in to conduct treatments designed to control them.

MDA's 2009 monitoring program discovered record numbers of gypsy moths moving inland from the North Shore of Lake Superior, but the program found very few gypsy moths in other parts of the state. These 2009 detections prompted MDA to develop plans for control treatments later this spring and summer along the North Shore.

MDA Plant Protection Director Geir Friisoe said monitoring is a key part of the fight against gypsy moths.

"For three decades, MDA has eradicated small infestations in eastern Minnesota," Friisoe said. "Our efforts have pushed back the full-scale invasion of gypsy moth, and every year we delay the moths' establishment is a victory for our environment and our economy."

Citizens are asked not to disturb the traps and to call the Arrest the Pest Hotline at 888-545-MOTH if they would like traps moved or removed from their properties. For more details about the trapping program and gypsy moths, visit the MDA website at www.mda.state.mn.us/gypsymoth.

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