Store-bought Gypsy Moth Traps

MDA asks homeowners not to place store-bought gypsy moth traps on their property.

Traps placed by homeowners may impair monitoring efforts that protect Minnesota's forests.

ST PAUL, Minnesota - As the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) kicks off another season of gypsy moth trapping, homeowners are being asked not to place on their property any gypsy moth traps other than those posted by the MDA.

This request comes after the MDA discovered that some home and garden retailers are beginning to sell gypsy moth traps. There is no law against homeowners buying gypsy moth traps and posting them on their property, but MDA Gypsy Moth Coordinator Kimberly Thielen Cremers said that posting private traps may actually interfere with officials' efforts to control the gypsy moth.

"Gypsy moth traps are not an effective way to eradicate gypsy moth populations," Thielen Cremers said. "We simply use traps to monitor for the pest and determine if more intensive management efforts need to be taken at certain locations. When homeowners post their own traps, population numbers may be skewed. This could impair our ability to detect a problem and react accordingly."

The MDA, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has had an annual gypsy moth trapping program in place since 1973. This program is designed to protect Minnesota's forests from this invasive tree pest that has defoliated forests in Wisconsin and other eastern states.

Each summer, MDA workers fan out across the state to set about 15,000 gypsy moth traps. These traps, known as delta traps, are tent-shaped pieces of cardboard that are stapled or tied to trees and poles. Each trap contains a pheromone designed to lure adult male gypsy moths. Once inside, the moth gets caught in a sticky substance coating the trap's interior. All traps are monitored by the MDA and are removed at the end of the season.

Traps are placed at a rate of between one per square mile and one per four square miles as a method of detecting new infestations. They are placed at higher rates in areas where male moths were caught in previous years. Whenever possible, traps are placed on public property or on public rights of way and private property. Private landowners are asked for permission to place a trap on their land. Traps placed on private property are immediately removed if landowners object. The traps are labeled with MDA insignia for easy identification.

For more information about the MDA's gypsy moth program, call the Minnesota Department of Agriculture's contact the Arrest the Pest Hotline or 888-545-6684.