Gypsy Moth Fight Coming To Duluth, Ely This Summer

Updated: 03/13/2014 4:12 PM
Created: 03/13/2014 4:05 PM
By: Laurie Stribling

This summer in Duluth the fight against gypsy moths is being taken to the sky. A meeting in West Duluth Thursday brought state officials to the area to answer questions about their management plan.

"They're just kind of infiltrating the Duluth area," Lucia Hunt, with the MN Department of Agriculture, said. "That's when our treatment works best. When we have low-level population."

Hunt said they'll be spraying scent flakes over most of Duluth and north of Ely sometime this summer. That's meant to confuse the male's direction capabilities so they can't find females to reproduce.

In a smaller area of West Duluth, they'll be spraying a bacteria called BTK to kill caterpillars.

"That bacteria doesn't react to our systems the same way it reacts with caterpillars," Hunt said. "So, it's not toxic to humans, mammals or pets."

If you want to play it safe, Hunt said you can close windows during the spraying and stay indoors 30 minutes after.

While the fight is on, the effects of the gypsy moths haven't been felt yet in the city.

"I haven't seen any of the effects of the defoliation," Larry Sampson said.

Sampson works for the Superior Hiking Trail. He said the spraying isn't disruptive.

"I've been on the trail with volunteers with the planes flying over head," Sampson said. "All we do is see the planes flying over low. We don't feel anything; we don't see anything."

"The whole strategy is about slowing the spread of the gypsy moth," Hunt said. "It will come eventually, but the more we can do to slow and delay that the better off we all are."

In Lake and Cook counties, the public comment period closed for the proposed quarantine. The Department of Agriculture wants to start that quarantine on April 30.

MN Department of Agriculture
MN Department of Agriculture

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