Who knew that something as harmless looking as a caterpillar could be so harmful? This is a brown tail moth caterpillar, and this year much of the coast of Maine has been inundated with them. The brown tail moth is an invasive species said to currently exist in the U.S. only on Cape Cod and in Maine. Over the years one thing or another has destroyed them, but these days their population, especially in Maine, has been on the rise.
The moth builds nests in the fall and sometime around April thousands of caterpillars appear. They feed on their host trees completely denuding them in the process. As if that’s not bad enough the caterpillar releases tiny barbed hairs that are airborne. That means humans become their unsuspecting victims as the toxic hairs pierce the skin and cause an extremely irritating rash. Inhaled the hairs also can result in serious respiratory issues.
Last year we heard some talk of the caterpillar, but this year it’s more than talk. People are under attack and it is not uncommon to see someone with an inflamed red rash. So many people are suffering that pharmacies have sold completely out of anything that could be regarded as treatment. What is really sad is that nothing seems to work and even worse is that the toxins can stay in the body for weeks and, in some cases, years. Just the thought of that makes me crazy to say nothing about itchy!
The caterpillars should become moths sometime this month, and that will stop the attacks. You can be sure though that if I see a brown tail moth, it doesn’t have a chance of surviving!
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13 thoughts on “Under Attack!”
Oh, Linda! How awful. We have not experienced these brown tail moths, but friends at Eastward have! There were tons of them over there. And pharmacies are out of stuff to deal with this?
Wow!! that’s scary Linda!!! Hope you are healing well…and they go away soon!!!
🙂 Outch! Get well soon! 🙂
Yuck! We are inundated with sandflies here causing us to not be able to boat or be near the river when we finally have some warm weather going here. Luckily, we were in Mexico this past week for our daughters wedding (pictures on my Facebook page) and we went on a dinner cruise which filled the boat craving for the week lol.
Wow Tina, I didn’t know you had a daughter of marrying age. Mexico must have been a fun wedding.
Linda, this sounds horrible! Hopefully they become moths soon.
How terrible! Our area is finally recovering this year from gypsy moth damage. They have killed so many trees after 2 years of defoliating. And 2 years of their poop dropping on your head – YUCK!!
Not fun having a pesky pest.
Yikes. That whole airborne part of the deal is scary! We just spotted a very healthy large bed of poison ivy in our yard. I’m glad our son identified them before I tried to weed them. Oye!
Hope you have Calamine lotion on hand in case there’s some left.
Has the hubby’s itching stopped yet?
This has become a health and safety issue in communities across Maine.
This is terrible. What are some natural enemies of moths?
My husband has had a very difficult time with mosquito bites this summer. They swelled and were unusually itchy. The bites were so bad the dermatologist did a biospy. He is seeing an allergist in August. Had to wait that long to get an appointment.
I do hope something can be done about the moths.
They are out of control.