Woods Wise Wire - February 26, 2019

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Woods Wise Wire

Learn More About A Toxic Insect Pest: Browntail Moth Information Session - Belfast


Belfast Free Library Abbott Room

Date & Time:

February 28th from 3:00pm to 5:30pm

Announcing a workshop featuring Maine Forest Service Entomologists providing updates and information on an invasive insect that is toxic to humans, the browntail moth. Browntail moth is an invasive forest pest that continues to expand its range in Maine bringing with it human health impacts. Browntail moth is now present in Waldo County and other areas of the Midcoast. The larval stage (caterpillar) of this insect feeds on the foliage of hardwood trees and shrubs including:  oak, shadbush, apple, cherry, beach plum, and rugosa rose.  Larval feeding causes reduction of growth and occasional kills valued trees and shrubs.  While feeding damage may cause some concern,  the primary concern is the impact on humans from the  browntail moth is the result of contact with poisonous hairs found on the caterpillars.  Contact of these hairs with human skin causes a rash similar to poison ivy that can be severe on some individuals, and the hairs can cause breathing problems.  Late winter is an ideal time to control it by clipping and destroying its winter webs.

This info session includes an overview of its biology, history in Maine and updates on current browntail range/ areas at risk. We will also talk about management options and ways to mitigate human health impacts. This workshop is suitable for municipal and state workers, arborists and others that manage vegetation as well as for homeowners, orchardists and gardeners.


Aleta McKeage, Technical Director, Waldo County Soil and Water Conservation District, at aleta.waldosoilandwater@gmail.com