Gypsy Moth Treatment Starts In Duluth

By KBJR News 1

June 12, 2011 Updated Jun 12, 2011 at 10:36 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's Newscenter) - The invasive species has been found along the north shore and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, along with other agencies, is doing its part to slow the spread of the insect.

With conditions just right, members of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service took to the skies to stop the spread of the gypsy moth.

"This morning we are conducting our first application of BTK, here in Duluth, for the control of the gypsy moth," said Lucia Hunt with the Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture.

B-T-K is an organic insecticide and is found in soils around the world.
The product was dispersed over more than 300 hundred acres of Duluth's Central Hillside neighborhood early this morning in hopes of introducing the product to the recently hatched caterpillars.

"The caterpillars are really the most destructive life stage of the whole insect and the caterpillars will strip leaves off of the trees," said Hunt.

The gypsy moth is one of the most destructive leaf pests in the United States.

The BTK treatment has been used for years in an effort to control this foreign nuisance.

"It's been a product that has been used for more than 70 years. It's been used in the United States since the late 50s and there are a lot of different reviews that show its low risks especially compared to other products," said John Kyhl, an entomologist with the U.S. Forest Service.

And in the case of the amount of product used, less is more.

For every acre treated in Sunday's treatment, two quarts of BTK are applied, which Kyhl says can be much less than other applications.

"If you were to hire a tree care company to spray a fairly large specimen tree, it would not be uncommon for it to be five to 10 or up to 20 gallons per tree depending on the situation that it is in," said Kyhl.

Khyl says those living in the treated areas may notice a slight residue on their cars and should be able to simply wash it off with water.

A second application will take place later this week, and a product targeting the adult stage of the moth will be applied later this summer.

To measure the success of BTK the Minnesota Department of Agriculture will be setting and checking traps throughout the summer.