Gypsy Moth treatments in the Northland this week

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) will treat approximately 64,600 acres in Carlton, Lake, and St. Louis counties to prevent gypsy moth infestations. Officials say the aerial treatments will be conducted on July 13-16, with treatments to begin as early as 6:15 a.m. a.m. each morning and continuing throughout the day.

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.

A low-flying airplane will be traveling up to a half mile outside the treatment areas. The MDA apologizes for any inconvenience caused by the noise of the plane.

Areas included in this application:

  • Carlton and St. Louis counties – Esko block, including portions of the city of Duluth – 19,839 acres (MAP)
  • Lake and St. Louis counties – French River block, including portions of the cities of Duluth and Two Harbors – 44,847 acres (MAP)

MDA has an interactive map that residents can look up their address to determine if they are within either of these blocks.

According to a press release, MDA will use a method of mating disruption involving the aerial application of an organically certified, waxy, food-grade substance containing pheromones specific to gypsy moths that confuses the male moths. This makes it difficult for the male gypsy moths to find females for mating, which means reduced mating success.

The result is fewer caterpillars hatching and attacking trees next year. Application is timed just as adult moths emerge in early summer.

Planes fly approximately 150 feet above the treetops and will be traveling outside the treatment areas as the planes navigate through the gypsy moth infestation sites. The product is not harmful to humans, animals, birds, or other insects, and will help protect forest health, property values, and the state’s tourism industry.

To help area citizens stay informed, the MDA has set up an Arrest the Pest information line at 1-888-545-MOTH (6684). The hotline will offer the latest details about treatment dates and times.