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Gypsy moth treatment proposed for Cloquet

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and partner organizations are planning to tackle a gypsy moth infestation in part of Cloquet this spring. In anticipation of the proposed treatment, the department is inviting people to learn about the effort at an open house April 12 in Cloquet.

Gypsy moths are ranked among America's most destructive tree pests. The insect has caused millions of dollars in damage to forests as it has spread from New England to Wisconsin in recent decades. Gypsy moth caterpillars can defoliate large sections of forest. The pests are common in Wisconsin and have been establishing themselves in Minnesota.

The MDA maintains a monitoring program to watch for start-up infestations, and when an infestation is found, the department conducts aerial treatments of the infestation before it can spread. In 2017, the MDA found a gypsy moth infestation in Cloquet.

The department is now developing a treatment plan for an affected 460-acre area that runs north of MN Highway 45 up to Pearl and State streets. Details of the area can be found at mda.state.mn.us/gmtreatments.

Over the years, the MDA has successfully treated dozens of gypsy moth infestations across eastern Minnesota from Grand Portage to the Twin Cities to Houston County, including treatments in Cloquet in 2012. These successful treatments help postpone the full-scale invasion of gypsy moth, saving local communities and homeowners money and protecting the health of the state's urban and natural forests.

The MDA's open house is 5:30-6:30 p.m. April 12 at City Hall, 1307 Cloquet Ave., to share information with citizens about the threat gypsy moths pose to the environment and how officials plan to protect the urban and natural forest.

For more information on the proposed treatments, go to mda.state.mn.us/gmtreatments.

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