Monday, May 12, 2014

MDA to set nearly 15,000 traps statewide to look for gypsy moth

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) will set nearly 15,000 gypsy moth traps across Minnesota this spring. The work is part of the MDA’s annual detection trapping program and is designed to protect Minnesota’s forests and urban areas from new infestations of gypsy moth.

Beginning May 15, MDA staff will be out in southern Minnesota setting traps. The northern portion of the state will start to receive traps after June 12. Setting the thousands of traps will take several weeks.

Most of the gypsy moth traps are small, triangle-shaped and made of cardboard. Milk carton traps, which are much larger, are used in areas of northeastern Minnesota where moth numbers are expected to be much higher than elsewhere. All of the traps are set on trees or poles across the state and contain a pheromone to lure in male gypsy moths.

Citizens are asked not to disturb the traps and to call MDA’s Arrest the Pest Hotline at 888-545-MOTH if they would like traps moved or removed from their properties. 

Trapping results may identify areas that need localized treatments to control the moths. The Twin Cities metro area is considered high risk for human-assisted introductions of gypsy moth, but trap counts are still expected to be low in that area. Northeastern Minnesota is again expected to be the hot spot for gypsy moths in 2014, as the invasion front has now moved into that area from infested states to the east.

“For over 40 years, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and our partners have protected Minnesota’s trees from this nasty pest,” MDA Plant Protection Director Geir Friisoe said. “Our efforts have saved important industries like tourism and forestry from economic harm. Each year we delay the moths is a victory for the environment and the economy.” 

Gypsy moth caterpillars eat the leaves of many trees and shrubs, favoring oak, poplar, birch and willow. Severe, repeated infestations can kill trees, especially when the trees are already stressed by drought or other factors.

For more details about the trapping program and gypsy moth, visit the MDA website at