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Posted on: January 12, 2022

Browntail Moth Caterpillars Information

browntail moth 3 stages

The Town of Orono has created a citizen monitoring site for the invasive Browntail Moth (Euproctis chrysorrhoea (L.) that was brought to New England in 1897 from Europe. Help us monitor Browntail Moths (BTM) in Orono and contribute to the data on our heat map by submitting a sighting report at our monitoring website or scan the QR Code attached to bring up the survey form. This data will be used for BTM management. Therefore, your participation is highly encouraged and appreciated.

The caterpillars use their silk to roll leaves and make nests that are found on the tips of tree and foliage branches. They use these nests to overwinter. They are 2-5 inches long and contain small brown hairy larvae inside.

The moth is destructive to trees and foliage, particularly red oak and apple trees. The hairs on the caterpillar (juvenile/larval life stage) are toxic to humans causing skin rashes, and respiratory illness in severe cases. Because of this, it is very important to take safety precautions whenever handling the caterpillars, moths, or nests. Browntail Moths (BTM) are most active from May-July and residents should be cautious of them as the tiny hairs can get airborne while doing yard work if they are on the property. For more information on health risks of BTMs please visit the Maine CDC website.

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