As the battle against gypsy moth infestations heats up in northeastern Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is inviting people to learn about the effort at informational meetings May 17 and 18.
The May 17 meeting will at Sugarloaf Cove from 1 to 3pm. On the 18th from 9 to 11am, the information session will be at Gooseberry Falls State Park and in the afternoon from 3 to 6pm at the Duluth Township Hall.
Gypsy moth is a destructive tree pest that has caused millions of dollars in damage to forests as it spread from New England to Wisconsin. While MDA has conducted successful treatments along Lake Superior, the department found new infestations in the state in 2009 – and nearly 99 percent of those were in the Arrowhead region.
To combat these infestations, MDA and its federal, state and local partners plan to conduct treatments in five areas. They will use the biological insecticide Btk for three treatment blocks covering a total of 2,152 acres. Those are located near the Clover Valley School in St. Louis County, and Cramer and Finland in Lake County.
Btk targets the moth’s larval stage of development and treatments typically occur in late May or early June. MDA will treat the remaining 98,694 acres using mating disruption methods.
The department works in close partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and a host of local and non-profit partners. Before conducting a treatment, MDA’s treatment plan is submitted to other agencies for review of any potential effects on threatened and endangered species and for any impacts on historical sites.