Penobscot County Beware: The Brown-tail moth caterpillar problem is predicted to be the worst ever this Spring season.

Maine.Gov
Maine.Gov
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The Maine Department of  Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry says the main threat that a bad season of Brown-tails can bring, is damage to the people around. According to Maine.gov...

"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."

Sarah Nickerson, Townsquare Media Bangor
Sarah Nickerson, Townsquare Media Bangor
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Tyler McIntosh, who graduated from the University of Maine with a degree in Forestry, and is known locally as "The Tree Man", says all the reports he's been hearing have not been good.

"The Department of Conservation and Forestry is predicting that Penobscot County is going to be hit the worst this year. I believe Kennebec County was hit the worst last year in the state. And where they're seeing the trends this year, it's Penobscot County. "

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While many communities, such as Bangor, have been actively working to eliminate as many Brown-tail nests, McIntosh says removing them from trees has become kind of an exercise in futility at this point.

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"Some of the nests from the trees fall to the ground in the winter. So you can clip the ones in the trees, but the ones on the ground will also have some as well. And if you clip the nests out of your trees but your neighbor doesn't do it, as soon as the caterpillars come out, when they start moving about, they'll just migrate over to your tree and nothing's gonna stop them."

Maine.gov
Maine.gov
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McIntosh says the last few years of Brown-tail issues have been so bad, he's seen families cut down all of the trees around a residence, just to ensure the toxic hairs stay away from people who live in the vicinity.

He says that a few tree service companies like the one he owns, McIntosh Forestry Services,  have started to offer an injectible insecticide, which if put into Brown-tail moth host trees, will kill the pests for a season, but folks should act during the Spring to be able to make the most of the next few months.

Maine.gov
Maine.gov
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"So we can do injections into the tree. It will take a few days to kick in. Any Brown-tail caterpillar feeding on that tree will die, and not be able to complete its life cycle in that tree."

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McIntosh says the insecticide also works for the invasive Emerald Ash Borer, which has been destroying many Maine trees for the last several years.

He recommends that if you have concerns about the potential of Brown-tailed moths being on your property, to call a tree service and inquire about what options they have for helping to treat the area.

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