ST. PAUL (AP) — The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has captured a record number of gypsy moths this year.

The department said Tuesday that 69,400 gypsy moths have been trapped in Minnesota this year. That number is expected to rise as the department collects the 14,500 insect traps set out this spring.

Minnesota's previous record high was 27,858 gypsy moths caught in 2009.

Trapping is not meant to control the invasive pest. But counting the number of moths caught in the traps gives department officials a sense of the size and location of the gypsy moth population.

Gypsy moth caterpillars can defoliate large portions of forest. Over the next few weeks the department will search for reproducing gypsy moth populations. Those searches will be done in Lake and St. Louis counties in northeastern Minnesota.