If You See These In Your Trees, Drown Them!
By this point, hopefully we all know to avoid the caterpillars. But there's a new threat when it comes to the saga or the Browntailed moth; their eggs!
"Just pulled 16 females and eggs off of 4 fruit trees! The brown furry cocoon are poisonous hairs protecting the eggs. The picked female moth and egg cocoon go into a pail of soapy water."
Hauns Bassett lives in Unity. He has a few pear and apple trees on his property, and after a quick survey of his land yesterday, Bassett shared this warning on social media:
"Check your fruit and oak trees NOW for Brown Tail moths."
And Bassett knows first hand the perils of close contact with these critters, as he's been one of many this season, suffering the effects of crossing paths with this pest.
"I'm covered, again, in the rash. I hate them so much!"
From all accounts, this season has been terrible. And I think it's safe to say that NO ONE wants these guys to rear their fluffy heads next year, so we're being encouraged by experts state-wide, to destroy them in each of their life stages.
Based on everything I've read about them, the best, most sure-fire way to kill these suckers involves drowning them. Smashing or burning them runs the risk of releasing the irritating hair into the air, and that doesn't help anyone!
These are the suggested ways to get rid of browntail moth adults, caterpillars, and eggs, according to Maine.gov.
A wet/dry vacuum with a HEPA filter and filled with a few inches of soapy water and keep outdoor lights off at night during the last week of June to the first week in August.
For egg masses:
Egg masses are usually found on the bottom of the leaves of host trees (oak, apple, crabapple, pear, birch, cherry, and other hardwoods). Clip off affected leaves with gloved hands and soak the eggs in soapy water for two days then throw them away.
For the caterpillars:
Pesticides can be used to control caterpillars. The Maine Forest Service recommends contracting with a licensed pesticide applicator to control browntail moth. Products must be labeled for the site of treatment."
If you live in Bangor, City Officials are hoping to keep an eye on the browntail problem by mapping spots where folks see the nests. According to the bangormaine.gov website, if you notice nests in the trees, you can report them right here.
However you choose to deal with these buggers, it's important we all do what we can to keep them from coming back in force next year.
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