Calling all Mainers: UMaine researchers want to hear your opinion on browntail moth control

Researchers at the University of Maine are seeking public input on browntail moth control methods. 

Devin Rowe, a Ph.D. student in the lab of UMaine forest entomologist Angela Mech, and McKenna Mollner, a master’s student in the lab of UMaine economist Mariano Teisl, developed the survey to help researchers, as well as government and community leaders, understand Mainers’ views on how to control browntail moths. The study may ultimately inform widespread response to this growing threat to people and plants.  

Maine is experiencing its worst browntail moth outbreak since the invasive pest first arrived more than a century ago. In their caterpillar phase, browntail moths shed delicate, venomous hairs that can irritate skin and lungs. The bristles are light enough to float on air, making them easy to inhale, and persist in the environment for years. The caterpillars also defoliate trees which, when occurs repeatedly, may stress them to the point of death. 

The anonymous, 15-20-minute survey is available online until Friday, Aug. 4. Those who complete the survey may enter a raffle for one of ten $75 gift cards to L.L. Bean. 

This research is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Research Traineeship (NRT) program (Proposal #1922560) to support UMaine’s Initiative for One Health and the Environment. Mech’s and Teisl’s labs are both supported by UMaine’s Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station.