Minnesota DNR getting reports of forest tent caterpillars in Northland
DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - The Minnesota DNR has been receiving reports of a pesky caterpillar showing up around the region.
Forest tent caterpillars, also sometimes called “army worms”, have been spotted in Aitkin, Mille Lacs, Grand Rapids, and Hibbing.
Forest tent caterpillars had a massive outbreak in the Northland back in the early 2000s.
That’s when they could be seen crawling all over roads, houses, trees, and more.
During that outbreak, forest tent caterpillars ate the leaves on approximately 7 million acres of trees in northeast Minnesota.
DNR leaders say they’re a native species and many healthy trees can usually survive that impact as long as it’s not every year.
“If you’re getting defoliation for 4-5 years in a row then you can start to have stress on that tree,” Eric Otto with the Minnesota DNR said. “Then, other opportunistic pests come in and can cause more damage.”
The last outbreak in Minnesota was in 2013 when forest tent caterpillars defoliated about a million acres of trees.
DNR leaders say an outbreak usually happens every 10 years, so there could be an outbreak this year.
The DNR hasn’t done their annual aerial survey yet, so they are unsure of the total number of these insects we could see this summer.
The forest tent caterpillar is not poisonous and doesn’t cause harm to humans.
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