Mainers Are Suffering Because Of These Poisonous Caterpillars [PICS]
Have you seen this rash? It's becoming increasingly prevalent in Maine and could be alarming to notice but also quite annoying to deal with.
It is called 'Brown Moth Itch' or 'Brown Moth Rash.' The picture we have is from a staffer who is an avid bike rider. He took this picture after a ride in the Augusta area this weekend. He thinks the rash was developed after his arms rubbed against leaves on his ride.
The rash comes from the poison held on the hairs of the Brown Moth caterpillar, which is an invasive species for Maine, according to the Maine CDC.
These caterpillars are active from April to late June but the hairs of the caterpillar remain poisonous throughout the summer, so you could still have a reaction well after the caterpillar dies or transforms into a moth.
Other symptoms of contact include respiratory issues if you happen to inhale airborne hairs.
The insect has crept its way up from the Cape Cod region in Massachusetts up to the Maine coast, including the towns of Brunswick and Falmouth. More sightings are being found inland as the caterpillar makes its way inland. Here is a map, provided by the Maine Forest Service, showing places in Maine at risk of exposure to this insect:
For more information and resources about the Brown Tail Moth caterpillar, see the Maine CDC webpage about the insect.