Maine residents fend off poisonous browntail moth caterpillars – Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts 2021-06-14 08:44:40 –


“This is the last thing we want to deal with.”

Maine suffers from the epidemic of euproctis, an invasive caterpillar with toxic hair. Noushka31 / Wikimedia Commons

While parts of the country are dealing with cicada herds this summer, Maine is infested with toxic hair-invading caterpillars that can cause painful rashes and breathing problems in people. I’m suffering.

The caterpillar, known as Euproktisuga, is about 1.5 inches long, has a white dash on the side, and two red dots on its back.

Browntailga is most common along the coast of Maine and in Cape Cod, but was found in all 16 counties in Maine this year, said Jim Brit, a spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Maine.

“People are finding them everywhere: on the ground, picnic tables, electric boxes, corners-you name it,” Brit said. “They are very present. People will see them everywhere.”

“We are in the midst of an outbreak,” he said.

The Caterpillar has small toxic hairs that could remain toxic for three years, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services warned.

After people touch the caterpillar’s hair, they can develop a red, bumpy rash that resembles a reaction to poison ivy, which can last for hours to weeks, the agency said. Inhaling hair can cause breathing problems.

Others, such as Brit, who recently encountered caterpillars in the park, do not develop symptoms.

“They were everywhere and I didn’t react to them at all,” he said.

There is no specific cure for the rash, except for a cure like calamine lotion, the department said.

In Waterville, Maine, a city about 20 miles north of Augusta, the caterpillar epidemic went out of control, and the mayor called an emergency meeting in the city council to declare a public health emergency and order pesticides.

“After a year of pandemics, we’re finally able to get out and start socializing, but this is the last thing we want to deal with,” Mayor Jay Coelho said at a meeting, painful. Residents of Waterville with a photo of the rash.

Caterpillars spend the winter on oaks and other hardwoods and appear in the spring, Brit said.

Browntail moths are not new to Maine, which has had them for a century. Caterpillar originally came from Massachusetts, but ended up in Maine “because they are skilled hitchhikers,” Brit said.

The exact cause of this recent epidemic is unknown, but Brit said the dry condition was “absolutely ideal” for Euproctisga to expand its range.

At an emergency meeting in Waterville, city council member Thomas Crepac expressed concern that climate change could exacerbate the epidemic in the coming years.

“It’s wise for the city to control the outbreak as much as possible now and recognize that this can be an ongoing problem,” Klepach said.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services wears masks and goggles for outdoor activities such as scraping leaves after going to the area where euproctis lives, and showers when doing garden work on rainy days. It is recommended to take a shower and change clothes.

This article was originally New York Times..

Maine residents fend off poisonous browntail moth caterpillars Source link Maine residents fend off poisonous browntail moth caterpillars

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