Feeling Like You Have Browntail Rash? Here’s What’s Really Going On.
Browntail Moth Caterpillars are the absolute worst.
What makes it a bit worse, is that we're the only ones, pretty much, that have to deal with this bull crap. Everywhere else in the U.S. that's had them managed to find a way to eradicate them. But our climate makes it super tough to manage them. But we've let you know about a few things you can do to manage all aspects of them.
More recently, people are starting to see the actual moths everywhere. And while it's true that the adult moths don't have the toxic hairs, people all over social media are reporting that they're dealing with the rash again. And that's totally true, but the reason it's happening is different than you think.
It's not the moths, it's the cocoons.
The City of Bangor has been pretty aggressive the last few years about trying to get the BTM situation under control, and has a very robust part of their website with constant updates and info about what to do about them. In fact, they address the issue we're talking about.
The toxic hairs that cause the rash are not present on the adult moths. BUT... the adults are currently starting to hatch around this area. There's pictures everywhere of the adults swarming around street lights, or on the sides of buildings. You can safely bet that anyplace you're seeing a ton of moths, their former cocoons are nearby.
The cocoons are just chock full of those nasty hairs.
And there's the rub... All those cocoons that all those moths just hatched from, are full of the hairs from when they were caterpillars. So if a stiff breeze pops up, or you're handling the branches they're attached to, you could easily pick up a fresh case of the BTM hairs. And we all know that the rash is just awful. Some adults may have residual hairs stuck to them as well, but produce none of their own.
So while it's true we're seeing the rash a lot again, it's good to know how we're getting it. If you do see adults, feel free to set them afire with a flame thrower or something. More dead adults means less living caterpillars. Do your part.