Here’s how to protect yourself in the summer from exposure to browntail moth hair:

Avoid places that appear to be infested. Indicators include vacated nests and trees and shrubs with a lot of missing leaves.

Wear a respirator, protective eyewear and cover exposed areas of skin. This is important on windy days or when performing activities that would stir up hairs, such as lawnmowing or raking.

Do yardwork on damp days or spray the area you’re working in. Moisture will help keep the hairs from becoming airborne.

Don’t dry laundry outside, especially in June and July. Hairs can become embedded in clothes and cause reactions when you wear them.

Wash clothes after spending time in an infested areas to remove embedded hairs.


Take a cool shower after spending time in an infested area.

Use duct tape to remove any hairs that may have embedded while outside.

TO PREVENT INFESTATIONS, nests can be removed. They generally appear at the tips of small branches and can be hard to reach.

Non-chemical methods:
Clip overwintering webs and destroy by soaking in soapy water or burning. Wear gloves.

Clip webs in the winter and very early spring, from October through mid-April. The state provides a how-to video at

Chemical methods:
Timing is essential if you’re considering the use of pesticides. Treatment before the end of May will arrest development of the moths; thereafter it will not.

• Consult a professional arborist. The state maintains a list of arborists willing to remove browntail moth nests.

SOURCE: Maine Forest Service

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