Euproctis chrysorrhoea (L.)
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Use extreme caution if burning webs. Never burn unless the branches have been clipped off. This type of burning requires a burn permit. For more information, please visit www.maineburnpermit.com and check the daily forest fire danger report.
The browntail moth is an insect of forest and human health concern which was accidently introduced into Somerville, Massachusetts from Europe in 1897. By 1913, the insect had spread to all of the New England states and New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Since that time, populations of this pest slowly decreased due to natural controls until the 1960's, when browntail moth was limited to Cape Cod and a few islands off the Maine coast in Casco Bay. Browntail moth populations are again building in Maine and are found in patches along the coast and up to 60 miles inland from the western Maine border to the New Brunswick border, with the greatest concentrations in mid-coastal Maine and the capitol region.
A map of the known distribution of the pest in Maine is linked below.
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 mortality of valued trees and shrubs. While feeding damage may cause some concern, the primary impact on humans by browntail moth results from contact with poisonous hairs produced by the caterpillars. Microscopic, toxic hairs break off the caterpillars and can be airborne or settled on surfaces in browntail moth infested areas. Sensitive individuals who encounter the hairs may develop a skin rash similar to poison ivy and/or trouble breathing. Symptoms can last anywhere from a few hours to several weeks and can be severe in some individuals.
For More Information:
Dial: 211 or 866-811-5695
Text Zip Code to 898-211
- Got the Itch? Browntail Moth on Maine School Grounds: How to Recognize, Treat and Manage it.(Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. Aired 11/17/16).
- Browntail Moth Brochure (PDF | 1.7 MB)
- Identifying Browntail Moth Winter Nests
- Browntail Moth in Maine History and Current Situation 2018 (PDF | 2.4 MB)
- Browntail Moth Life Cycle (PDF | .3 MB)
- Maine CDC Browntail Moth Information
Maine Forest Service conducts surveys for browntail moth from small planes and from moving trucks. These are broad-scale surveys that do not completely cover the entirety of the impacted area. A predicted exposure map (2020, PDF | 2.4 MB) is provided based on these surveys and public reports. However, to understand what is happening in your neighborhood, and whether you are at risk of exposure to browntail moth, learn to recognize browntail moth then inspect the trees around you. The best time of year to do this is in the winter from mid-December through March. Browntail moth is most recognizable at this stage and management can occur or be lined up ahead of the spring season.
- 2020 Browntail Moth Aerial Detection Survey (PDF | .8 MB)
- 2019 Browntail Moth Aerial Detection Survey (PDF | .3 MB)
- 2020 Browntail Moth Winter Web Moth Survey (PDF | 1.1 MB)
- Maine Browntail Moth Roadside Population Assessment: Winter 2018 (PDF | 2.1 MB)
Citizen Science Survey Protocol
- Browntail Moth Citizen Science Survey Form (PDF | .1 MB)
- Browntail moth web clipping video
Businesses that manage browntail moth
- List of Licensed Pesticide Applicators willing to treat Browntail Moth, Hemlock Woolly adelgid and/or Other Pests
- List of Arborists willing to PRUNE browntail webs in the winter (PDF | 313 MB)