Browntail Moth Hell [UPDATED]

Browntail Moth Caterpillar

Browntail Moth Caterpillar

If you’ve managed to avoid getting a Browntail Moth rash so far this summer, congratulations- and be careful, the summer isn’t over yet. Many of us haven’t been so lucky, myself and my wife (and most of my neighbors) included. My house is surrounded by large Red Oak trees that hang over my yard and deck. Last year we were still somewhat oblivious to the caterpillars and the risk they pose with the result that we got extensive rashes over large portions of our backs, necks, and arms. This year we’ve been more cautious and have avoided hanging out on our deck and in our yard, with the result that the rashes we’ve developed haven’t been as bad or extensive as they were last year, but they have still been very unpleasant. Both my wife and I have had a few sleepless nights so far this year. Even now as I type this, my hands are itching.

The more we know about these pests, the better able we will be to deal with them. To that end, I highly recommend you watch this April 2020 Maine Forest Service Webinar featuring State Entomologist Tom Schmeelk. The presentation itself is about 48 minutes long and is followed by 20 minutes of questions and answers:


I am making plans to trap the moths when they emerge later this month in the hopes I can make a dent in the caterpillar population next year. I’ll be posting more about this.

[UPDATE] Here’s a link to the slide show that was used in the above YouTube video, should you want to get a closer look at some of the pictures:

Browntail Moth Background