The Brown-tail Moth is an invasive species found only on the coast of Maine and Cape Cod. This moth is a concern for both forest and human health. The brown-tail Moth Caterpillar has tiny (0.15 mm) poisonous hairs that cause dermatitis similar to poison ivy on sensitive individuals. People may develop dermatitis from direct contact with the caterpillar or indirectly from contact with airborne hairs. Caterpillars are active from April to late June. Hairs remain toxic throughout the summer but get washed into the soil and are less of a problem overtime. (Source)
Brown-tail Moth Caterpillars are identifiable by 2 orange reddish dots on the back and long brown hairs. When in doubt, DON'T TOUCH!
The Maine CDC offers suggestions to best protect yourself and what to do if you possibly come in contact with a caterpillar. If you experience signs or symptoms please contact your doctor.
Reporting a site with Brown-tail Moths:
The City of Augusta's Parks Department works actively to try to manage the situation by removing the caterpillars and post signs at hot spots. Unfortunately, signs blow away and new sites may arise as problems. We ask if you see a site with Brown-tail Moth, please report it to our Parks Supervisors with details to locate the spot. If you are experiencing signs or symptoms please contact your doctor.
Rich Wurpel, Parks Supervisor: Rich.Wurpel@augustamaine.gov
Bruce Chase, Parks Director: Bruce.Chase@augustamaine.gov
Contact 211 Maine for more information on Brown-tail Moths:
Dial 211 or (207)874-2211