The caterpillars of the invasive browntail moths have irritating hairs which can cause rashes and breathing problems for sensitive people.
• There is a possibility of adult moths picking up the toxic hairs from the caterpillar stage as the moths emerge from their cocoons; however, the brown hairs on the abdomen are not the toxic hairs.
• The caterpillars, pupal cocoons, and shed skins have the toxic hairs that can cause a skin rash.
• The hairs on the adult moths are not toxic and do not cause a skin rash.
Most moth species are valuable pollinators and food for our spring nesting songbirds. So how do you know if you have the invasive browntail moths? See the brown tuft at the rear?
For the next week or so don’t leave lights on overnight to attract the adults to your neighborhood.
Next winter you will want to be vigilant about removing the winter nests.
A big “Thank You” to Marnie Reed Crowell for her efforts to educate our community about this invasive species.