Gypsy Moth Caterpillar Found in Minnesota

Minnesota’s first gypsy moth in caterpillar form was found recently in Duluth, confirming that the exotic pest which can defoliate wide swaths of forest is reproducing in Minnesota. Male gypsy moths in their flying stage have been found along the North Shore in recent years.

The Duluth News Tribune has the full story on the discovery in Duluth HERE.

As we reported HERE earlier this year, the number of gypsy moth’s trapped by Department of Agriculture researchers doubled in 2009 as compare to 2008. While no gypsy moths in the caterpillar or egg form had been found before the Duluth discovery, experts assumed not all the flying moths they were counting had flown in from neighboring states.

An insect pest imported from Europe in the 1860s, gypsy moths are voracious eaters that can defoliate entire trees.  Oaks and aspens are especially susceptible to the insect which has few North American predators. Repeated defoliation of these trees by the pests can lead to the death of the tree.

In recent years, the Department of Agriculture has applied the pesticide BTK to areas known to harbor flying gypsy moth populations.

Find the Minnesota DNR’s gypsy moth information page HERE.

gypsy moth larva, Lymantria dispar, image courtesy http://www.invasive.org
gypsy moth larva, Lymantria dispar, image courtesy http://www.invasive.org

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