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Identification and Management of the Browntail Moth.
March 9 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
On Thursday, March 9 at 6:00 pm at the Belfast Library, the Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition invites you to a free presentation by Maine Forest Service District Forester Morten Moesswilde on Identification and Management of the Browntail Moth.
Browntail moth is an invasive insect pest that can cause skin rashes and respiratory distress in people due to toxic hairs found on the caterpillars and in cocoons. The hairs can persist in the environment and remain toxic for up to three years. They are most harmful where they are found on fallen leaves, lawns, patios, and other surfaces around homes. The hairs can become airborne again due to mowing, raking, or removing coverings from boats, sheds, etc.
Maine Forest Service expects the current outbreak, which is most severe in 5 towns around Brunswick, to expand and intensify this year. Browntail moth webs have been found in Sagadahoc, Cumberland, Androscoggin, Kennebec, Lincoln, and most recently, at three sites in Waldo and Knox counties. Browntail moth larvae and cocoons can be transported by vehicles during the summer.
Overwintering webs found on the ends of oak, pear, apple, cherry, and crabapple trees can be safely pruned during the winter, before leaves come out, and destroyed, reducing the likelihood of reinfestation. After leaf-out, the caterpillars and cocoons will begin to release toxic hairs, and are much more difficult and costly to control safely.
The most recent locations in Waldo County where browntail moth webs were found are small, isolated occurrences. Control measures to identify, remove and destroy webs now will help limit the spread of this pest. Many other insects that form webs are beneficial for wildlife and/or cause only limited damage to trees, so proper identification of the browntail moth webs is important.
More information about browntail moth can be found on the Maine Forest Service website, http://www.maine.gov/dacf/mfs/
The Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition is a Belfast-based, member-driven nonprofit which supports conservation and stewardship of natural and public resources of the Belfast Bay watershed through research, community-building, and education. Their programs and field trips are free and open to all. To learn more, visit their website at: belfastbaywatershed.org. The Belfast Bay watershed consists of the Goose River, Little River, Passagassawakeag River, and Wescot Stream watersheds totaling 69,656 acres and 108.8 square miles.