Experts Say The Maine Browntail Moth Infestation is Now The ‘Worst in 100 Years’
If you've spent more than 10 minutes in the state of Maine, you know we've been battling a very annoying problem for the last several years. Of course we're talking about the nasty browntail moth and browntail moth caterpillar.
According to Wikipedia, 'Hairs from the caterpillars are toxic for humans, causing a poison ivy-like itchy rash of up to sometimes weeks-long duration due to mechanical and chemical irritation. Direct contact with larvae is not necessary, as the hairs are shed and can become windblown. Toxins in the hairs remain potent for up to three years.'
According to WGME 13, the infestation that we've been dealing with isn't going to get better any time soon, either. Experts from the University of Maine say that it has been dry conditions over the last several years that have helped increase the population of these irritating little insects.
Most Mainers, and rightfully so, believe that the infestation restarts each year. And while to a degree that's true, the infestation levels we're currently dealing with are actually due to a string of dry weather that began in 2015, and caused the 'explosion' in browntail numbers in 2020, WGME reports.
University of Maine's Browntail Moth expert, Dr. Angela Mech, told WGME in part, "The hairs get into the leaves, the grass, the trees, and can persist for over three years."
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