MDA to set nearly 18,000 traps statewide to look for gypsy moth

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) will set nearly 18,000 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 the week of May 23, MDA staff will be out in southern Minnesota setting traps. The northern portion of the state will start to receive traps after June 6. Setting the thousands of traps will take several weeks.

Gypsy moth traps are small, triangle-shaped and made of cardboard. All of the traps are set on trees or poles and contain a pheromone to lure in male gypsy moths.

The traps are placed on a grid at a specific distance from each other in order to efficiently trap as many male moths as possible. To be successful, it is important to maintain the trapping grid. Citizens are asked not to disturb the traps and to call MDA’s Arrest the Pest line at 888-545-MOTH (6684) 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. Southeastern and northeastern Minnesota are again expected to be the hot spots for gypsy moths in 2016. For decades, gypsy moth has been slowing spreading across the Unites States from New England. The invasion front is now in northeastern Minnesota, and is encroaching on southeastern Minnesota from Wisconsin.

“For over 40 years, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and our partners have protected Minnesota’s trees from this extremely serious invasive pest threat,” said MDA Plant Protection Director Geir Friisoe. “Our efforts have been important in protecting industries like tourism and forestry from economic harm and saving Minnesota from environmental damage. Each year we delay the moths spread across the state is a victory for the environment and the economy.” 

Gypsy moth caterpillars are a problem because they voraciously 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 www.mda.state.mn.us/gypsymoth.