FALMOUTH — The town will not be spraying for browntail moth caterpillar in 2021 due to a reduction in nests and levels of infestation over the past few years.

In 2020, a spraying program was conducted to target areas in the public right-of-way that were considered high risk. While not fully eradicating browntail moth, the goal was to preserve the health of the street trees and to minimize the public health effects of the infestation.

According to information published in The Falmouth Focus town newsletter, to identify high-risk areas that should be treated again, in January 2021 the town assessed browntail moth nests along all public ways in Falmouth within 15-20 feet of public roads and town-owned property.

The high-risk threshold level was set at eight to 10 nests per tree or areas where there were multiple trees with six or more nests. According to the newsletter, the assessment found no areas in Falmouth met the moderate criteria, which was a high number of trees along the public way with at least eight or 10 nests in each tree, and found no nests along the majority of public roadways.

According to the assessment, the findings do not indicate that browntail moth have been eradicated in Falmouth and it’s likely some nests will be present this year.

Town officials are advising residents to assess their properties for nests during the winter months. The best means of preventing a browntail moth infestation is to clip and destroy overwintering webs from October to mid-April.

Residents are also being advised that the irritating hairs responsible for the rash that accompanies exposure to browntail moth can remain in the environment and remain toxic for up to three years after an infestation.