They're back!

It seems like every time I turn around, someone else has been hit by the irritatingly itch Browntail Moth Caterpillar rash.

Since this has now become "a thing" in our neck of the woods, we thought we'd share a couple of remedies folks have come to rely on to soothe the itch of this pesky condition.

The rash:

A lot of people tend to end up with issues after spending time doing either yard work or after spending time at some of the local parks, especially Fairmount. So make sure you cover up the kids before they go out to play.

If you have had the misfortune of coming across a caterpillar, and you think you might have a rash because of it,  it's presenting as red splotches that itch like the dickens!

Suzanne Guiggey
Suzanne Guiggey

According to website, "The browntail moth caterpillar has tiny poisonous hairs that cause dermatitis similar to poison ivy on sensitive individuals. People may develop dermatitis from direct contact with the caterpillar or indirectly from contact with airborne hairs. Most people affected by the hairs develop a localized rash that will last for a few hours up to several days but on some sensitive individuals the rash can be severe and last for several weeks."

WWMJ Ellsworth Maine logo
Get our free mobile app

The rashes and irritation do not discriminate; they hit everyone--young and old.

Because these toxic little hairs go airborne, you risk coming across this nastiness from a simple walk to the mailbox.

And folks across the state are looking for some relief.

Some Possible Remedies:

Now--let me start by saying I'm not a medical professional: your best bet is always to call someone trained for this stuff first.

Here are some telltale signs you might have come in contact with Browntail Moth Caterpillar Hair: very itchy blotchy, slightly raised pink/red skin.

One remedy that's been offered:

  • 1/4 cup Witch Hazel
  • 2 Tablespoons calamine lotion
  • 1 Tablespoon Benadryl Cream
  • 1 Tablespoon Steroid Cream
  • Apply frequently.

That being said, here are some things local folks are trying that you may want to consider.

I've heard some people say that if you shower right after you're exposed and then use duct tape or a lint roller on the affected area to remove the little hairs. They say to put Preparation H on the itchy spots after that.

A friend of mine shared this recipe for an over-the-counter concoction that's been made in the past by the folks at Maine General Medical Center.

Here's what you'll need: 

  • 1/4 Cup of Witch Hazel
  • 1/2 Tube of Hydrocortisone Cream
  • 1/2 Tube of Diphenhydramine
  • 1/4 Tube of Aspercream or Lidocaine cream

Place all in a plastic bottle, shake well, and use as directed.

You can also add a few drops of menthol oil drops to that mixture to add a cooling sensation.

I've had some friends try this and say that it has brought them some relief.

The only real issue with this remedy seems to be that it's been difficult to find some of the ingredients locally because everyone seems to be thinking the same thing, and the risk is that the supplies won't be available at the store when you go to buy them.

Good luck out there!2024


University of Maine Researchers Doing Browntail Moth Study

This pilot study is determining if pheromones could be the key to disrupting the Maine pests population and help reduce the infestation across the State of Maine. Ultimately, this research could be the large scale answer to dealing with the Browntail Moth problem here in the state.

Gallery Credit: Sarah Nickerson

Plant Some Of These In Your Garden to Keep Mosquitoes Away

As we previously told you, mosquitoes are the most dangerous creatures on earth. If you want to keep them away from you're yard, these plants can help!

Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart

Quiz: Do you know your state insect?

Stacker has used a variety of sources to compile a list of the official state insect(s) of each U.S. state, as well as their unique characteristics. Read on to see if you can guess which insect(s) represent your state. 

Gallery Credit: Andrew Vale

More From WWMJ Ellsworth Maine