February Declared Browntail Awareness Month: Act Now

February 7, 2024

For more information contact: Jim Britt at: Jim.Britt@maine.gov

Augusta, Maine - As February unfolds, some Maine residents brace themselves for the annual return of a persistent foe: the Browntail Moth (BTM) caterpillar. Recognizing the significance of this challenge, February has been designated as Browntail Awareness Month, urging individuals to take proactive measures against this invasive pest.

The Browntail Moth caterpillars have long infested Maine, causing tree defoliation and triggering human rashes. Residents are encouraged to participate in Browntail Awareness Month by familiarizing themselves with effective strategies for identifying and removing the pests' winter webs from trees on their properties.

Here's how you can contribute to reducing Browntail Moth impacts this February:

  1. Recognition and Removal of Winter Webs: Learn to identify Browntail winter webs, typically found at the tips of tree branches, resembling palm-sized structures tied to the leaf stem with white silk. Focus your attention on tree species favored by Browntail, such as oak, apple, crabapple, cherry, birch, poplar, shadbush, and rose bushes. Use hand snips or an extendable pole pruner to safely remove webs within reach, taking necessary precautions to protect yourself from potential contact with toxic caterpillars.
  2. Professional Assistance: When dealing with unreachable winter webs, seek assistance from licensed arborists or FAA-certified drone operators specializing in Browntail removal. Additionally, licensed pesticide applicators may offer solutions for reducing Browntail populations in early spring.
  3. Community Collaboration: Foster a sense of collective responsibility by contacting neighbors, local businesses, and community organizations. By working together, communities can effectively respond to Browntail infestations, yielding better results for all.

To further bolster awareness and engagement, many organizations host educational events throughout February, including Browntail Moth Mitigation and Educational Clipping Events in Orono, Bangor, and Pownal. These events provide valuable opportunities for hands-on learning and collaboration with experts in the field.

Additional Resources and Support

  • Educational materials, including videos, brochures, FAQs, and an interactive map, are available through the Maine Forest Service website to empower individuals and communities in their Browntail mitigation efforts. (Resources)
  • Residents are encouraged to use #KnockOutBTM on social media to share their successes and inspire others to join the fight against Browntail Moths.

More information and updates on Browntail Awareness Month activities.

About Maine Forest Service

The Maine Forest Service, a division of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, is responsible for the sustainable management and protection of Maine's forest resources. They provide leadership, expertise, and assistance to various stakeholders to promote the state's ecological, economic, and social benefits of forests.