Trapping Begins for Spongy Moths in Northeastern MN

Formerly called "gypsy" moths, 100,000 trapped last season.
Spongy Moth

NORTHEASTERN, Minn. –As temperatures warm up and summer gets underway, it also brings some big problems.

The trapping of spongy moths has begun in Minnesota. Formerly known as gypsy moths, they have been wreaking havoc on trees for years. Northeastern Minnesota will be included in the area where traps will be set.

The Department of Agriculture says that last year more than one hundred thousand male moths were trapped. A pheromone is used to lure the male moths to the trap.

In the moth’s caterpillar stage, they eat over three hundred types of plant life. That includes trees such as oak, poplar, birch and willow. The department says severe and repeated infestations can kill trees.

Plant Protection Director, Mark Abrahamson, said “With the public’s help, this work protects industries like tourism and forestry from economic harm and saves Minnesota’s urban and forested areas from environmental damage.”

There are two trap types and styles. One is more like a milk carton, and the other is smaller and more of a triangle. Because of higher moth numbers in northeastern Minnesota, the larger milk carton style will be used in St. Louis, Lake and Cook counties.

If you see any traps, the public is asked to leave them alone. They will remain in the trees through October.

The department urged the public to be especially vigilant and report any potential infestations online at Report a Pest, or by emailing

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