Healthy Options 4/7/21: Brown Tail Moth presence in Maine this year

Host/Producer: Rhonda Feiman
Co-producer: Petra Hall
Technical assistance: Joel Mann & Amy Browne

Brown Tail Moth presence in Maine this year, and how to try to prevent the spread of this hazardous and destructive invasive species, whose caterpillars give off tiny toxic hairs that can cause great harm to human health.

Key Discussion Points:

1 What are the health ramifications of exposure to Brown Tail Moth caterpillar hairs?
2 How can we prevent exposure to their toxic hairs?
3 What measures can you take between December and early April to mitigate webs in trees?
4 What is the best way to dispose of the webs after you clip them?
5 What protective clothing should you wear when dealing with the webs, moths or caterpillars of Brown Tail Moth?
6 Is it OK to eat food from a garden that is exposed to hairs of the Brown Tail Moth caterpillars?
7 Will eradicating the moths- which is the actual adult stage of the Brown Tail Moth- be enough to affect their numbers?
8 Why should you not use bug zappers or other kinds of light traps to deal with Brown Tail Moths when they are in their adult stage, or any time?
9 Why is it best to turn the lights off at night, until morning (especially from 9 pm to midnight), from late June through August/September?

Tom Schmeelk, forest entomologist with the Maine Forest Service, who is charged with managing the state’s response to the Brown Tail Moth problem.

Websites of Interest:
Maine Forest Service- Brown Tail Moth info:

Maine Forest Service website- Brown Tail Moth FAQs:

Brown Tail Moth Frequently Asked Questions, PDF
Brown Tail Moth presentation- Tom Schmeelk, Belfast Library 3/25/21:

2021 Brown Tail Moth Winter Web Survey map

About the host:
Rhonda Feiman is a nationally-certified, licensed acupuncturist practicing in Belfast, Maine since 1993. She primarily practices Toyohari Japanese acupuncture, using gentle and powerful non-insertion needle techniques, and also utilizes Chinese acupuncture and herbology. In addition, Rhonda is a practitioner of Qi Gong and an instructor of Tai Chi Chuan in the Yang Family tradition.