moth infestation is discovered in Twin Cities
State officials have detected a second recent infestation
of the gypsy moth in the metropolitan area and will dramatically
boost treatments this year to stave off the pest, which
can defoliate entire forests.
The latest infestation is confined to Theodore Wirth
Park and golf course over a 1,836-acre area of Golden
Valley, St. Louis Park and west Minneapolis, officials
In November, the largest moth infestation ever in the
state led to a quarantine of 400 acres just south of Lake
Harriet. That quarantine bans residents and businesses
from removing trees, branches and other woody material
from their property until June 15.
The newest area won't be quarantined because it seems
to be confined to the park and golf course, said Kimberly
Thielen Cremers, gypsy moth coordinator for the Minnesota
Department of Agriculture.
Officials say the gypsy moth is the nation's single most
destructive pest of trees and shrubs. Since state officials
began monitoring for the presence of the gypsy moth in
the 1970s, they have treated about 1,500 acres in 50 areas
to prevent trees from being defoliated.
This year, treatments will cover about 3,000 acres, Thielen
She said the latest infestation indicates a trend that
within 10 to 15 years is expected to affect the entire
state. Eastern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
have been declared infested by the moths, which have spread
slowly westward from New England since the turn of the
"We just hope to delay that movement," Thielen Cremers
"It's not the state coming down and mandating that we're
doing this for the public. Without treatment, this infestation
will increase, and eventually defoliation will occur.
So in June you'll have trees that look like they would
in the middle of November, with absolutely no leaves on
the trees," she said.
The trees will releaf, but multiple years of defoliation
will stress trees, leaving them vulnerable to insects
and diseases that can kill them.
The gypsy moths eat up to a square foot of foliage a
day, said Ryan Benbo, a spokesman for the Agriculture
The newest infested area extends from the east side of
Hwy. 100 to the west side of Xerxes Avenue, and from the
south side of Minnaqua Drive to the north side of Highwood
Road, Benbo said.
He said residents near the newest infested area will
receive letters within 10 days informing them of the situation.
They will be invited to a meeting about the moth from
7 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 11 at the Jewish Community Center,
4330 Cedar Lake Rd., Golden Valley.
Gypsy moth egg masses usually are deposited on trees,
houses and lawn ornaments. The female moth, which can't
fly, lays 500 to 1,000 eggs per lifetime. They hatch into
large caterpillars in the spring.
"The gypsy moth does not spread quickly on its own,"
Thielen Cremers said. "Unfortunately, people often unwittingly
help the moth spread by giving it a free ride into new
For more information, call a gypsy moth hot line at 651-296-6684