Over the coming weeks the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) will be setting over 20,000 gypsy moth traps in the eastern half of Minnesota. This is part of the MDA's detection trapping program designed to protect Minnesota's forests and urban areas from infestations of the gypsy moth. The goal is not to try and capture all the gypsy moths that may exist, but to identify areas that may need localized treatment to control the moths.

Gypsy moths were accidently introduced in the New England states. For decades it has been expanding and spreading across the United States. The gypsy moth caterpillars will eat the leaves of over 300 types of trees and shrubs. They favor oak, popular, birch and willow trees. Severe infestations or repeated infestations can kill a tree, especially if they are already stressed by drought or disease.

So, if you like looking at your trees in the summer with leaves, do not tamper with the traps the MDA has placed on trees. They are about the size of a milk carton and triangular in shape. In sever outbreaks gypsy moth caterpillars will eat all the leaves on the trees!