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Invasive insect that feeds on plants in the carrot family reported for first time in Minnesota

ST. PAUL, Minn. — An invasive insect known as the purple carrot-seed moth has been found for the first time in Minnesota, the state’s Department of Agriculture announced on Wednesday.

The invasive moth feeds on plants in the carrot family, such as dill, fennel and coriander.

The MDA says a resident near Stillwater noticed the insect on their dill plants and reported it. Days later, the department received a second report from Montgomery.

Scientists identified the moth with the help of the University of Wisconsin Diagnostic Lab. 

Native to Western Europe, Russia and China, the moth was first discovered in North America in 2008. It was most recently found in Wisconsin in 2018 and Iowa in 2020. 

“The impact of this insect is currently unknown, but because it is associated with the flowers and not the roots of plants, impact on carrots, celery, and parsnip crops should be minimal,” said Angie Ambourn, supervisor of the MDA’s Pest Detection Unit. “Crops that are commonly grown for seed, like fennel, dill and coriander, might be where we see the greater impact.”

Purple carrot-seed moth larvae in their webbing on a dill plant flower.

Minnesota Department of Agriculture

Purple carrot-seed larvae are dark and can be green or reddish, with many white spots on their bodies. As an adult moth, they are small and purplish-grey.

The MDA encourages residents to report suspected purple carrot-seed moths to its report a pest line, which can be found by clicking here.

Source: CBS Minnesota

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