The purple carrot-seed moth has been confirmed in Minnesota for the first time, but it's unclear just how impactful the invasive bug will be.
According to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the moth feeds on plants in the carrot family, like dill, fennel and coriander. It was first confirmed in North America in 2008, having recently been discovered in Wisconsin (2018) and Iowa (2020). The moth is native to western Europe, Russia and China.
A resident near Stillwater discovered the moth on dill plants and reported it to the state. Days later, someone in Montgomery made another report of the bug.
The moths are described as "dark and distinctive and can be green or reddish with many white spots on their bodies." They start out as caterpillars that eat the flowers, but they can also make herbs like dill unusable by casting a web that ties floral parts.
The caterpillars then go through metamorphosis and transform into moths.
“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, an MDA spokesperson said.
“Crops that are commonly grown for seed, like fennel, dill and coriander, might be where we see the greater impact.”
Anyone who thinks the moth is buzzing around should call the MDA pest line at 1-888-545-6684, or submit a form online.