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Are Gypsy Moths Dangerous?

If you’ve been exploring some of the major cities in Minnesota or even other parts of the country, you might have seen some workers from the Department of Agriculture overseeing some treatments for Gypsy Moths. Are they a growing threat and something you should be worried about? In this post, we cover some concerns about Gypsy Moths and how you should prevent potential major issues before it’s too late.

What are Gypsy Moths and are Gypsy Moths Dangerous?

You’ve probably heard the name before, but did you know that Gypsy Moths aren’t native to the United States? They were originally found to live in Europe and Asia. Then they were accidentally carried to the United States in the late 1800’s.

We emphasize accidentally because Gypsy Moths are considered some of the most damaging pests to forests. No one would intentionally want to move these critters around because they bring a lot of destruction with them.

There have been attempts ever since to remove Gypsy Moths. However, over the past hundred plus years we haven’t been able to wipe them out in the US. These moths will consume vast amount of plant foliage and typically target common species like Oak and Aspen.

Left unchecked, they can take out all of the leaves on a tree rather quickly and can even consume entire forests. The extensive damage that can be done is a major reason why the Department of Agriculture does whatever they can to eliminate potential Gypsy Moth threats.

Do we have a Gypsy Moth outbreak in Minnesota?

Most likely you wouldn’t put the current activity levels of Gypsy Moths here in the Twin Cites as anything close to an epidemic, but pockets of moths have been popping up from time to time.

As the old saying goes “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure”. That’s basically what the Department of Agriculture is focused on at this point. They are trying to address potential threats from Gypsy Moths before they reach a scale to do serious damage.

Interestingly, it’s not the adult Gypsy Moths that cause most of the damage. It’s their caterpillar form you need to worry about most. Certainly from a breeding standpoint, you’ll want to get rid of adult moths. However, it’s the caterpillar form that does the feeding and destruction of trees. These will eventually turn into adults to continue the cycle.

What you can do to prevent Gypsy Moth problems

Now there isn’t really a whole lot that you would do as an individual to get rid of Gypsy Moths beyond reporting it to the proper authorities. As we talked about earlier, agencies in the US have been working on Gypsy Moth problems for over a hundred years and still haven’t completely eliminated it.

While you probably wouldn’t personally be hiring a pest control service to treat for these moths, it is still an option if you want to keep the trees near your home extra safe. The government does work in conjunction with local pest control services from time to time to keep fresh pockets of Gypsy Moths in check, but they tend to be handled by state government and the USDA Forest Service.

Your job and how you can help to get rid of Gypsy Moths is to simply be a look out and pass along any sightings of these pests. If you see any signs of Gypsy Moths or their adult and caterpillar form, let the Department of Agriculture and your local pest control service know as they usually work together to take out any potential threats.

It can, however, vary from state to state, as to who exactly handles Gypsy Moth problems. So wherever you live, letting both the Department of Agriculture and a local pest control service know will cover your bases. From there, you can go with whatever route makes sense.

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