The state is holding free presentations to provide guidance on managing the invasive browntail moth. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension are providing the presentations on the caterpillars, which have microscopic hairs that break off during the six times the insect molts during its lifetime. The wind carries those hairs, which can cause a human skin rash similar to poison ivy. People can experience respiratory distress in more extreme cases.
The state expects this year’s browntail moth infestation to be more significant, with the Maine Forest Service last fall finding webs on the tops of apple and oak trees from the town of York to Washington County. The spring generation of the caterpillars will appear in May.
Preregistration is requested by calling 287-2731 or visiting maine.gov/healthylawns.