Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is preparing to treat approximately 1,200 acres of land in Duluth to slow the spread of a gypsy moth infestation.
Officials will begin treatments on Thursday, June 12, depending on weather conditions.
The treatment will be Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki or Btk.
Btk is approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and has very low risk for humans or animals other than caterpillars.
In 2013, the MDA's statewide gypsy moth monitoring program detected a localized infestation of the destructive tree pest.
The treatment area is located in West Duluth, in an area approximately bordered by Roosevelt Street on the north, the St. Louis River on the east and south, and two blocks west of Highway 23 on the west.
To slow the growth of the infestation, officials will conduct two aerial sprays over the same area, spaced 5-10 days apart.
A similar treatment was done in Duluth in 2011.
Gypsy moths are among America's most destructive tree pests, having caused millions of dollars in damage to forests in the eastern U.S. The moths are common in Wisconsin and are now moving into Minnesota.
If present in large numbers, gypsy moth caterpillars can defoliate large sections of forest. Oak, poplar, birch and willow are among their preferred hosts.
The following tips are offered to help residents understand the treatment of gypsy moths.
· For the moth treatment to work, it must begin early in the morning. Residents may be awakened on that day by the noise of the low-flying airplane. MDA apologizes for any inconvenience;
· The airplane noise may frighten pets, so residents may wish to keep them indoors during the treatment;
· The treatment product has no known health effects for humans, but to avoid it residents may wish to stay indoors during the treatment and keep windows closed for a half hour after application; and,
· The residue may accumulate on your car, outdoor play equipment or yard furniture. Simply spray off the items shortly afterward.