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Scott Neal, April 12, 2011 | Scott Neal
At our April 5 City Council meeting, the Council received a presentation from Ms. Lucia Hunt from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture about her department’s plan this summer to treat an anticipated infestation of Gypsy Moths here in Edina. Most (90%+) of the treatment area is actually in Minnetonka. There’s also just a smidge in Eden Prairie. There area is generally in the northwest quadrant of the 169/212 intersection. That intersection doesn’t really have conventional quadrants, but that’s the general location. It’s in and around the Opus Office Park. Near where United Health Group is building some new offices buildings. The piece of Edina that is effected is a small area on the east side of 169.
Gypsy Moths (Lymantria dispar L.) feed on the outside of the trees they inhabit. Unchallenged, they can defoliate large swaths of aspen, birch, oak and basswood forests. For the sake of our trees, the moths need to be managed. And by managed I mean that they need to be eliminated.
The Department of Agriculture will begin to apply a biological insecticide called Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki (Btk) in aerial applications in May. The Gypsey Moth caterpillars ingest the Btk. The Btk causes the caterpillars to stop eating and they die shortly after that.
Btk does not impact humans or mammals. It does impact caterpillars and butterflies, however. The exact days and times of the applications will depend greatly on the weather. The Department of Agriculture will notify residents in the effected area 7-14 days prior to the Btk applications. They will also explain the safety details for residents.
If you have any concerns about the Department of Agriculture’s Btk application plans, you can contact them directly at their “Arrest the Pest” hot line at 888-545-6684.