MDA to set nearly 21,000 traps statewide to survey for gypsy moth

Traps will be set by survey staff starting May 25


St. Paul, MN: The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) will set nearly 21,000 traps this spring looking for gypsy moth. The traps will be set throughout the eastern half of the state as well as several spots in western Minnesota. This work is part of the MDA's annual detection trapping survey program and is designed to protect Minnesota's forests and urban areas from new infestations of gypsy moth by detecting potential problem areas.

Survey staff will begin setting traps starting on May 25, depending on weather conditions. Setting the thousands of traps will take several weeks and will be completed by the end of July.

Gypsy moth traps are small, triangle-shaped and made of cardboard. Bigger "milk carton" shaped traps will be set in select areas of Lake and Cook counties to accommodate for a potentially higher number of moths. The traps contain a pheromone to lure in male gypsy moths. (Picture: A gypsy moth trap is placed on an aspen tree.)

The traps are placed mainly on trees in a grid pattern 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) or email if they would like traps moved or removed from their property.

The goal of the MDA's trapping program is not to catch all moths that may exist, but to identify areas that may 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 relatively low in that area. Southeastern and northeastern Minnesota are again expected to be the hot spots for gypsy moths in 2017. For decades, gypsy moth has been spreading across the Unites States from its original introduction in New England. The invasion front has reached northeastern Minnesota - Lake and Cook counties were quarantined for gypsy moth in 2014 - and is encroaching on southeastern Minnesota from Wisconsin.

"Our trapping survey program is an important frontline defense in the invasion of gypsy moth as they make their way across the country," said MDA Plant Protection Director Geir Friisoe. "Each year we identify and treat start-up infestations, we save our urban and forested areas from a serious threat. This protects industries like tourism and forestry from economic harm and saves Minnesota from environmental damage."

Gypsy moth caterpillars are a problem because they 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. The various life stages of gypsy moth are also a human nuisance.

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


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