The City of Superior has dealt with gypsy moths and emerald ash bore recently.  In fact my co-host Ken Hayes had to have a tree from his boulevard removed because of the threat.  Now the Minnesota Department of Agriculture says we need to treat 1,200 acres of land in the City of Duluth to slow the spread of a gypsy moth infestation.


Depending on weather conditions (which look pretty good), officials will conduct the treatment tomorrow, Friday, June 13.

The treatment area is very close to my house in West Duluth.  They will be working in an area 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.

MDA Press Release

To get technical, officials will conduct two aerial applications of Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki (Btk) over the same area, spaced 5-10 days apart. Btk is approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and has very low risk for humans or animals other than caterpillars.  Btk is applied by airplane and sticks to the tree canopy. As the gypsy moth caterpillars eat the leaves, the insect ingests the bacteria and stops the caterpillars from doing any more damage.A similar Btk treatment was done in Duluth in 2011. The effort protects forest health, pro  perty values and the state's tourism industry.

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 MDA offers the following tips to residents in and around the treatment area:

  •  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.

To help area citizens stay informed, the MDA has set up an Arrest the Pest Hotline at 888-545-MOTH (6684). The hotline will offer the latest details about treatment dates and times.