By Lake County News-Chronicle
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) will treat 70,000 acres in Cook and Lake Counties next week in an effort to control gypsy moth infestations. The treatments will start July 14 and should be completed by Friday, July 17, weather permitting.
While MDA conducted successful 2008 treatments in Cook and Lake Counties, the department’s annual gypsy moth survey found new infestations in adjacent areas last year. The 2009 treatment effort is divided into five treatment blocks located near the communities of Hovland, Lutsen, Tofte, and Two Harbors, as well as Split Rock State Park. These treatments are part of a national “Slow the Spread” project, which seeks to reduce the populations of gypsy moths infesting America’s forests.
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. Mating disruption is effective and has been widely used in gypsy moth management in other states. These efforts protect forest health, local property values, and the state’s vital tourism industry. The treatment is not harmful to humans and will not impact resident or visitor recreation activities at area parks, forests, and lakes. People may go about normal outdoor activities during the application.
Working with the MDA, the Superior National Forest, Grand Portage Reservation, and the U.S. Forest Service Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry completed an environmental assessment that examined potential environmental impacts of proposed actions to slow the gypsy moth’s spread in the area. Based on the analysis and public comments, officials determined that mating disruption is the best treatment option for 2009 in the affected sections along the North Shore.
Gypsy moth is a destructive tree pest that has caused millions of dollars in damage to forests as it has spread west from New England. MDA maintains a statewide monitoring program to watch for start-up infestations, and when an infestation is found, officials move in to control the pests before they can spread. Since 1980, MDA has eliminated more than 65 gypsy moth infestations around the state.
MDA’s Arrest the Pest Hotline (888-545-MOTH) offers the latest treatment details to help people stay informed. MDA’s website also has helpful information, including a map of the treatment blocks and a link to the Environmental Assessment completed for the project. MDA’s gypsy moth web page is available at www.mda.state.mn.us/plants/pestmanagement/gypsymoth.htm.
MDA press release
Related content: http://www.twoharborsmn.com