Gypsy moth quarantine implemented in Lowry Hill

Photo courtesy Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Photo courtesy Minnesota Department of Agriculture

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has enacted a temporary quarantine in a gypsy moth-infested area in Lowry Hill.

The quarantine restricts the movement of trees and woody material such as firewood out of the area. Trees may be pruned, but all branches and woody material must stay on the property. Grass clippings can be removed from the area.

The quarantine requires inspection of any equipment, household items or vehicles that are sitting outside in the quarantined area and are being moved out of the area. That includes items such as wood pallets, patio furniture, grills, trampolines, trucks, campers and boats.

The quarantine will run through early next summer. It extends from Mt. Curve Avenue on the north to Franklin Avenue West on the south, Irving Avenue South on the west and Dupont Avenue South on the east.

Residents should look for gypsy moth egg masses, which are brown and fuzzy blobs the size of a quarter. They should scrape the egg masses off the item or leave the item where it is.

Kimberly Thielen Cremers, MDA’s Gypsy Moth Program Supervisor, said the infestation is one of the worst she’s seen.

“When we went out to the site, there were literally thousands of caterpillars,” she said. “The sidewalk was literally littered with caterpillar droppings and leaf fragments.”

Thielen Cremers said it’s key for residents not to move firewood in and out of the restricted area. They should also inspect outdoor material they bring back home, especially when they’re traveling from Wisconsin or the East Coast.

“Anything that’s potentially outside these critters can go and crawl underneath,” she said. “People need to be looking at their items.”

The Lowry Hill gypsy moth population hitchhiked its way into the neighborhood, Thielen Cremers said. A resident noticed the caterpillars on trees and alerted the Department of Agriculture.

It’s too early to determine a treatment date, Thielen Cremers said. MDA is still trying to determine the extent of the population, and will put together a management proposal later this fall.

She said she was excited they were able to catch the population early.

This is the second gypsy moth quarantine in the past year in the Minneapolis area. The Department of Agriculture implemented a quarantine this past November for parts of Armatage and Richfield. It treated the area in May by applying a biological pesticide.

“Everything is indicating a success,” Thielen Cremers said.

Gypsy moths have caused millions of dollars in damage to forests in the eastern U.S., according to the MDA. The moths are common in Wisconsin and are now threatening Minnesota. The caterpillars can defoliate large sections of urban and natural forests if present in large numbers. They feed on over 300 different types of trees and shrubs.

The MDA will host an open house about the quarantine from 6:30-8 p.m. July 11 at Kenwood Community Center.

For more information regarding the quarantine or gypsy moth, visit www.mda.state.mn.us/gypsymoth. If you suspect a gypsy moth infestation in your area, contact the MDA’s Arrest the Pest line at 1-888-545-6684 or arrest.the.pest@state.mn.us.

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