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Spruce Budworm Population Spikes in Cloquet Valley State Forest

Updated: 07/09/2014 11:08 AM
Created: 07/07/2014 6:00 PM WDIO.com
By: Julie Kruse
jkruse@wdio.com

The spruce budworm is a native insect in Northeastern Minnesota, and it has been for thousands of years. However, the Minnesota DNR has recently seen a spike in the worm's population in the Cloquet Valley State Forest.

DNR Forest Health Specialist Mike Albers estimated more than 15,000 acres of defoliation in the area this year compared to only a couple hundred acres of defoliation last year. He said there will be an increase in balsam fir tree deaths over the next three to four years as a result of these worms as there is millions of worms per acre.

Albers said this outbreak happens every 30 years or so and the trees should recover like they have in the past. Meanwhile, these outbreaks last six to eight years and thousands of dead balsam fir trees will accumulate. He advises private land owners to remove their dead trees as they can be a fire hazard.

The Minnesota DNR is currently flying an aerial survey to get a better estimate on how many trees have been defoliated by the worm. Albers said they will post the result on their website as soon as it becomes available.

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