Information for schools about brown moth infestations

The following information comes from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

Schools are critical spaces for recognizing and responding to brown moth (BTM) infestations, to avoid impacts to students and staff. Although long-lasting tree defoliation and branch dieback are of concern, impacts on the health of students and staff are the most pressing concerns around schools. BTM’s microscopic, toxic hairs can cause breathing difficulties and poison ivy-like skin irritation that can last anywhere from hours to weeks. Some people report feeling itchy with less than ten webs per tree or shrub; others say they have no symptoms of heavier infestations around their yards. In 2021, Maine Forest Service (MFS) surveys found populations of this insect in every county in Maine except York.where he is also likely to be.

In areas where BTM is not managed, toxic hair exposures peak from late May through July, but are possible throughout the year. You can take steps now, from February to the end of March, to reduce impacts at the end of the school year as well as any summer use of school grounds. There is only a short window of time to perform these actions. Please consider speaking with your facility manager, custodians and staff now to create a plan of action.

For more information and assistance on how to respond to potential brown moth infestations, see the latest bulletin from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

For more information and to get your questions answered:

  • Dial 211 or 1-877-463-6207
  • Text your postal code to 898-211

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