A number of years ago I noticed a cardboard sort of a trap attached to a tree in my ditch. I left it alone and assumed it was perhaps part of the neighbor kid's science project. I later figured out it was actually a gypsy moth trap.

The gypsy moth has slowly been making its way westward from the East Coast. It has taken a foothold in Wisconsin, and sightings in Minnesota have been on the increase in recent years. In some cases the gypsy moth has defoliated large sections of forests. The gypsy moth caterpillar especially enjoys the leaves of oak, poplar, birch and willow trees, along with shrubs.

Starting this week, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture will be setting nearly 21,000 traps in eastern Minnesota and in select spots in the western part of the state. In our area, traps will be placed in Dodge, Rice and Mower counties, and far northeast corner of Steele County. The traps will be used to help identify areas that may need localized treatments to control the moths.

The traps are small triangle-shaped pieces of cardboard. Should you find one attached to a tree, please leave it alone as it is up there for a purpose.