These Seemingly Harmless Caterpillars Spotted All Over Maine Can Cause Some Health Problems
It's a pretty common occurrence around Maine to see brown tailed moth webs in trees. Most people find these webs to be harmless and nothing more than an eyesore. But be careful, because for some people, close interactions with what comes out of those webs can cause some serious health concerns.
According to the state of Maine's website, the brown tail moth caterpillar (larval stage) can inflict damage on trees and shrubs that could eventually kill the trees they are feeding on. Since the larval stage lasts for nine months, the amount of damage done to one particular tree can be significant.
But they can also do damage to human beings if you're not careful around them. During their larval stage, the caterpillars have poisonous hairs on them as a defense mechanism. Coming in contact with this poisonous hairs can result in serious rashes and outbreaks. You can see below one instance of an outbreak.
Even if you don't come into contact with those poisonous hairs, health issues could still arise. Some people experience serious respiratory problems from after inhaling those small poisonous hairs that are too small to be seen by the naked eye.
The Maine Forest Service suggests that if you want to remove brown tail moth webs from your property, you should contact a professional to avoid any of these potential health problems.