Grad student speaks with WVII about browntail moth caterpillars

Karla Boyd, a University of Maine graduate student and research assistant in the School of Biology and Ecology, was interviewed by WVII (Channel 7) for a report about browntail moth caterpillars in the state. According to UMaine researchers, browntail moth caterpillar webs have been spotted in Bangor, Orono and Old Town. The forest caterpillars attack trees and have hairs that cause a rash if they come in contact with human skin, WVII reported. After not being around for many years, browntail moth caterpillars had an outbreak in southern Maine in 2015 and researchers are looking into why they’re continuing to spread to other parts of Maine, the report states. “So if you live in Bangor but you have a beautiful camp down in Damariscotta and you’re bringing your camper back and forth, parking under some of these trees, we think that you’re potentially bringing some of the caterpillars north,” Boyd said. Researchers said the public should mow their lawns on wet days and cover their skin when hiking to try to avoid exposure to the hairs.