The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry has issued a pest alert regarding Brown-Tail Moth infestation in Maine this summer, and steps you can take to alleviate the problem. 

This bulletin was issued by Maine State Forest Entomologist Charlene Donahue.

Maine Forest Service

If you have a Brown-Tail Caterpillar infestation with cocoons:

What to do: Use caution - cocoons are full of hairs THAT CAN CAUSE A RASH. Remember these hairs will persist until next year or longer.

If you want to remove the cocoons (different from the overwintering webs):

  • Wear protective clothing
  • Wet down cocoons before removing them

Pressure wash or scrape cocoons off structures or clip out of favorite plants:

  • Put a drop cloth under area to collect them
  • Let soak overnight in soapy water and compost or dispose in trash

Browntail caterpillars wander and form their cocoons anywhere in the area. Favorite places are:

  • Under the eaves on a building, on the underside of anything
  • In the leaves of any plant
Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry

Larvae forming cocoons under eaves

Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry

Close up of two cocoons inside webbing – they look similar to spider egg sacs

Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry

Browntail cocoon inside leaves

Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry

A leaf removed to show the inside of a browntail cocoon – one or many pupae can be inside

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid/USDA Forest Service

Browntail moth reached outbreak levels this spring round the Bath/Brunswick area of the state and has since been expanding outward.  Hemlock woolly adelgid has been expanding in the midcoast as well in southern Maine.

A list of Licensed Pesticide Applicators Willing to treat Browntail Moth, Hemlock Woolly Adelgid and/or Other Pests can be found here.

 

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