STATEWIDE (WGME) — Maine could be in for a bad insect invasion this summer. Brown tail moth caterpillars are expected to be out in full force.
One state expert said because Maine had a dry spring last year, the population was able to thrive.
The bugs are not only destructive but also are a health hazard. They have toxic hairs that can cause rashes and respiratory problems even if you’re not near them.
“You can come in contact with the hairs without seeing the caterpillar. Those hairs are barbed, they have sharp hooks on the end and they’re also filled with a chemical toxin,” said Allison Kanoti, state entomologist.
“The chemical in the hairs breaks down really slowly so it can be active for more than three years after the caterpillars are there,” she said.
State officials said the moths have now been spotted in all Maine counties.