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Low-flying planes to apply gypsy moth treatment in Houston, Winona counties

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An aerial gypsy moth treatment will be conducted in Houston, Winona and Wabasha counties from June 28-30.

The treatments will start at 6:30 a.m. Areas and an interactive map are listed below.

The treatment will be an an organically certified, waxy, food-grade substance containing pheromones designed to disrupt gypsy moth mating — essentially confusing male moths.

The treatment makes it difficult for the male gypsy moths to find females for mating. The result is fewer caterpillars hatching and attacking trees next year.

Application is timed just as adult moths emerge in early summer and will be applied by low-flying yellow planes contracted by the U.S. Forest Service in a joint project with the MDA.

The product is not harmful to humans, animals, birds, or other insects, and will help protect forest health.

Gypsy moths are among America’s most destructive tree pests, having caused millions of dollars in damage to Eastern forests. The moths are now threatening Minnesota. See more stages of the moth here.

If present in large numbers, gypsy moth caterpillars can defoliate large sections of forest. Oak, poplar, birch, and willow are among their preferred hosts. The moths spread slowly on their own, but people can unintentionally help them spread by transporting firewood or other items on which the moths have laid their eggs.

Residents can look up their address on an interactive map to determine if they are within any of these blocks.

Here are the eight sites that total approximately 69,000 acres:

  • Houston County – Jefferson block – 2,881 acres (MAP)
  • Houston County – Mound Prairie block – 12,060 acres (MAP)
  • Houston County – Brownsville block, including portions of the city of Brownsville – 2,418 acres (MAP)
  • Wabasha and Winona counties – Weaver block – 13,004 acres (MAP)
  • Winona County – Dakota block – 9,533 acres (MAP)
  • Winona County – Homer Ridge block – 26,061 acres (MAP)
  • Winona County – Pleasant Hill block – 1,470 acres (MAP)
  • Winona County – Wiscoy block – 2,489 acres (MAP)

To help area citizens stay informed, the MDA has set up an Arrest the Pest information line at 1-888-545-MOTH (6684). The hotline will offer the latest details about treatment dates and times. Residents can sign up for updates about treatment progress by texting “MDA SOUTHEAST” to 468311 to receive text notifications or texting “MDA SOUTHEAST [your email address here]” to 468311 to receive email notifications.

Contact the Minnesota Department of Agriculture at 1-888-545-6684 or [email protected] with questions regarding gypsy moth and the planned treatment.

Host of WIZM's La Crosse Talk PM | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate | Hometown: Greenville, Wis | Avid noonball basketball player and sand volleyballer in La Crosse

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