The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) caught more than twice the number of gypsy moths this year over last year – most of them in the northeastern part of the state. Nearly all the trapped moths were caught in St. Louis, Lake and Cook counties.
While efforts to eradicate gypsy moths in the Twin Cities area seem to have succeeded, officials say several years of spraying apparently failed to keep the moth from taking hold in the Arrowhead. MDA traps caught nearly 28,000 of the destructive pests in 2009.
Gypsy moth caterpillars can defoliate large sections of forest and MDA isn’t certain why their numbers continue to increase in the northeast. Speculation is that it is a combination of natural spread and people accidentally moving infested materials.