Long speaks to Advertiser Democrat about browntail moths in western Maine

Rebecca Long, University of Maine Cooperative Extension agriculture and food systems professional based in Oxford County, was quoted in the Advertiser Democrat about the spread of browntail moths into western Maine. Long said that this is the first year the Oxford County office has fielded a growing number of calls from people coming in contact with browntail moth caterpillars due to increasing public awareness about the moth’s seasonal cycles, as well as rising infestations. “In terms of what can be done right now: caterpillars already have their toxic hairs so spraying now won’t do anything to protect you from the hairs. Caterpillars can be collected off of surfaces by spraying them off with a hose and collecting them with a wet/dry vacuum with a HEPA filter filled with a few inches of soapy water. Toxic hairs can persist for up to three years so dispose of the dead caterpillars carefully. Wear protective gear when working outside where hairs may be present,” Long told the Advertiser Democrat.