FALMOUTH — The town and the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry are encouraging residents to remove browntail caterpillar winter webs from trees on their property.

This is the best time of year to remove the webs, which can be most easily destroyed by soaking them in a bucket of soapy water overnight.

Officials urge caution and the use of protective gear when handling webs, as contact with the caterpillars’ hairs can cause severe reactions in humans, including painful rashes and difficulty breathing.

Residents are also being encouraged to line up professional pest control companies to conduct spraying in the spring.

The town will conduct its own streetside spraying program in May. More information will be available soon on the municipal website at www.falmouthme.org.