Brown-Tail Moth Pests: What to Do About About Cocoons
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.
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
Larvae forming cocoons under eaves
Close up of two cocoons inside webbing – they look similar to spider egg sacs
Browntail cocoon inside leaves
A leaf removed to show the inside of a browntail cocoon – one or many pupae can be inside
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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