Charlene Donahue is a Forest Entomologist with the Maine Forest Service. She will be speaking at the Camden Public Library about the epidemic of Brown Tail Moth that Maine is currently facing. It is only a matter of time before Midcoast Maine is hit as hard as Southern Maine. This talk will educate homeowners and the public on how to recognize and control the infestation before it becomes out of control.
Brown Tail Moth Fact Sheet from the Maine Forest Service:
Hosts: Hardwoods (oak, shadbush, apple, cherry, beach plum, and rugosa rose)
Nearest Known Occurrences: Browntail moth is known to be established in Southern and Coastal Maine and Cape Cod Massachusetts.
Description: Large larvae, about 1 1/2 inches long, are dark brown and have a broken white stripe on each side of the body and conspicuous, unpaired, reddish spots on the posterior end of the back. is dark brown and hairy, with parallel white markings running down the back. Reddish spots will be apparent in early instars as well.
Signs and Symptoms: Feeding by the browntail moth will vary with the season. Larvae overwinter, so feeding begins early in the spring, the damage is visible as the leaves unfurl. As the larvae grow the consume larger and larger chunks of the leaves, and can completely defoliate host trees. Affected trees usually refoliate within the same season. After the overwintering larvae hatch in the summer, they will skeletonize leaves, and tie them with silk to the host branches. Winter webs on the outside edges of host crowns are conspicuous, tightly woven clusters of skeletonized leaves silk and sometimes fruit, filled with tiny larvae and frass. Winter web abundance can be a good barometer of summer suffering.
Damage: Although browntail moth is a forest pest, and can cause mortality of host trees, the biggest impacts are on human health and economics. Exposure to irritating hairs can cause a wide range of symptoms, from mild to very severe