Gypsy moth treatment underway in Lake CountyIf you saw low flying planes around Two Harbors this week, don’t worry, they’re not having engine problems.
By: Matt Suoja, Lake County News Chronicle
If you saw low flying planes around Two Harbors this week, don’t worry, they’re not having engine problems.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is working on diminishing the threat of gypsy moths in Lake and Cook counties using an aerial assault.
Gypsy moths are known to destroy trees and cause millions of dollars in damage to forests.
A total of 70,000 acres will be sprayed from July 14-17, weather permitting.
The MDA is also working with the U.S. Forest Service Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry, the Superior National Forest and Grand Portage Reservation on a treatment. Al’s Aerial Spraying, based out of Michigan, was contracted through the U.S. Forest Service to do the spraying in Lake and Cook counties
“Minnesota is on the leading edge of the gypsy moth infestation,” said Al Schiffer, co-owner of to Al’s Aerial Spraying. “It’s already in Canada.”
Last year treatments were carried out in Cook and Lake counties, but the MDA found new infestations in adjacent areas.
Schiffer added that the moths are all along the east coast and are spreading.
“It’s bad from Michigan to New York,” he said.
The spray being used has also been effective in other states, according to the MDA. The prevention method is part of the “Slow the Spread” project. MDA will use a method of “mating disruption” that involves an aerial application of a synthetic pheromone that confuses male gypsy moths so they are unable to find females for mating. Application is timed just as the moths emerge from their pupae in mid-summer.
The MDA currently has a monitoring program for the state which watches for start-up infestations. More than 65 infestations have been eradicated since 1980 by the MDA.
Tourists and residents should not be worried about the spray.
According to the MDA, the treatment is not harmful to humans and will not impact residents or visitors, or recreation activities at area parks, forests and lakes. People may go about normal outdoor activities during the application.
If you would like to find out more information on gypsy moths, call (888) 545-MOTH. Internet users can also find out more information at www.mda.state.mn.us/plants/pestmanagement/gypsymoth.htm.