MDA planning gypsy moth treatment

Some residents of Duluth will be seeing a plane fly over their homes Sunday morning. But it’s nothing to be alarmed about. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is using the plane to try and stop the spread of gypsy moths. The MDA is planning to treat about 342 acres in Duluth’s Central Hillside, in an area approximately from North Sixth Avenue East to North 17th Avenue East and Skyline Drive to East Fourth Street.

An infestation of gypsy moth was found last summer in the area. If left unchecked, gypsy moth caterpillars can defoliate large sections of forest. The bug likes to munch on over 300 types of trees and shrubs, but oak, poplar, birch and willow are among their preferred meals. The moths spread slowly on their own, but people can unintentionally help them spread by moving firewood or other items on which the moths have laid their eggs.

To slow the expansion of this infestation, officials will conduct two aerial applications of Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki (Btk) over the same area, about 5-10 days apart. Btk is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved bacterium with very low risk for humans or animals. Btk is widely used within the organic gardening community. While some other caterpillars may be affected, they must be at the same development stages as the gypsy moth at the time of the treatment.

This isn’t the first time the North Shore has seen treatments like this one. Similar projects have been carried out in Grand Portage in 2008 and in Finland and Clover Valley in 2009.

If you’d like more information on MDA’s gypsy moth treatment efforts, go to their website. Updates before, during and after the treatments will also be given on MDA’s Facebook page and MDA’s Twitter account. Or, you can call their Arrest the Pest Hotline at 888-545-MOTH. The hotline will have the latest details about treatment dates and times.

18 Comments

ruby2sd4y

about 10 years ago

Ugh, nothing like being awakened out of a blissful sleep @ 6a on a quiet Sunday am, by this plane buzzing overhead. 

Was this really the best time for this to occur?

Allen Sommerfeld

about 10 years ago

We apologize for the inconvenience. The timing of the treatment is very weather dependent. Early mornings are usually the best time because of temperature, wind and relative humidity.

hf314

about 10 years ago

Ugh--kept up too late by death metal and techno music from somewhere down the hill--woken up too early by dive-bombing moth-killing plane.
Time to put on the coffee.
At least it's a beautiful morning.

JR

about 10 years ago

How would you describe the smell?

spy1

about 10 years ago

That was much more irritating than I expected. It's 2011, can't we get a quieter plane? Or maybe you could use a flock of balloons and children toss out the moth-i-cide? You could charge for the rides.

spy1

about 10 years ago

Got the notice from the state today (MOnday) that spraying would begin June 13, 24 hours after it actually began. Big, glossy postcard of no use as a warning. Wonder how much this cost us?

ruby2sd4y

about 10 years ago

Weird, I don't recall hearing round two at all.

You sure? Or did you mean the 14th? Or? 

Maybe I slept through it this time?

Allen Sommerfeld

about 10 years ago

We apologize for the late delivery on the postcard. They were mailed on Tuesday, June 7. We are checking to see why it took nearly a week to hit mailboxes. The second, and final, treatment is planned for Thursday morning, depending on the weather. You can call the hotline, or look for updates on Twitter and Facebook.

NeverSummer

about 10 years ago

Was this that red and silver Skymaster twin prop plane that was 100 feet over my house for hours starting at 6am?  Having never heard about it until stopping by here today, I was planning on trying to ID the plane's numbers and call the FAA to complain.  I still have no postcard...and I'm still trying to catch up on sleep.  That was very irritating.

ruby2sd4y

about 10 years ago

At least this second go was at a more reasonable hour sleep-wise.

Pamalama

about 10 years ago

I received my postcard on the 8th or 9th.  Wondered what is being sprayed as well, then decided I was uninterested in calling a hotline.  Why couldn't they just put the info right on the big shiny postcard on my fridge?

Dang those planes fly low though.  Half asleep I thought "Duluth Harbor" was happening this morning.

chadp

about 10 years ago

The 3rd wave is going on today.  According to their website it is a Mating Disruption treatment which I assume is some sort of hormone but I searched around and couldn't find any info on whether it is safe to be outside during or for how long we should wait after.

bluenewt

about 10 years ago

It's safe to be outside. There's no need to wait. They're dropping tiny plastic chips that contain a hormone meant to attract and confuse male gypsy moths. The idea is to keep the males from finding the female moths that are out at the same time emitting real come-hither pheromone. If you happened to be standing outside staring skyward with your mouth open and a chip fell into your mouth, you'd still be safe.

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago



The flyover treatment in West Duluth was on Monday, July 18.



The fliers arrived in the mail on Wednesday, July 20. 

So, still working out the bugs in the system, ay?

Spy1

about 10 years ago

The bug, I was told by the abatement office, is that the latest flier was set to go out and the shutdown occurred, closing parts of MDA and the mailer (?). Plan B kicked in and staff went to the mailer to pick up the fliers and redistribute somehow. It took too long and they were late again. They admit it isn't good to be out in a park and getting sprayed. I would suggest they make sure fliers are out, at least, and then go ahead with the mating disruption. Which somehow passed as a "vital" state operation? Dunno.

Spy1

about 10 years ago

By the way, those flyovers are working as far as early morning mating disruption. You know what I mean? Rim shot please.

Iron Oregon

about 10 years ago

I dunno - I was out biking when the plane dropped its goodies and a couple hours later a bunch of horny male moths were landing all over me.

It was okay.

emmadogs

about 10 years ago

Yee-ikes, that is one seriously pissed off looking moth on the flyer.

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