WATERVILLE — Learning to identify browntail moth nests in trees and safely remove them will be part of an outdoor workshop planned for Wednesday at the Waterville Public Library.

City Councilor Thomas Klepach, D-Ward 3, and Matt Skehan, director of the city’s Public Works and Parks & Recreation departments, are to head up the workshop, to which the public is invited. It is expected to last about 30 minutes.

A brief informational talk is set for 4 p.m. Wednesday outside at the library’s porch at 73 Elm St. Attendees will then walk across the street to Veterans Memorial Park, off Park Street, where Klepach is expected to show how browntail moth nests look in trees, how to remove them with a pole pruner and how to properly dispose of the nests.

The city has purchased pole pruners, or long-handled saws, to be kept at the library, and those who have library cards may check them out as they do books or other library materials.

On the library porch, Klepach and Skehan are expected to explain what trees are affected by browntail moths, what the city is doing to address the problem and treatment options residents may have, given the types of trees infested on their properties.

Klepach and Skehan are also to discuss the timing for treatments, how those with library cards can check out pole pruners and the personal protective equipment that should be used when removing browntail moth nests.


The workshop is planned as Waterville is preparing to remove browntail moth nests from city properties and treat infested areas.

Other communities and libraries in central Maine have also been leading browntail moth awareness efforts. The Gardiner Public Library, for example, recently held an informational session and announced it would make a pole pruner available to library patrons.

Data from three sources is helping Waterville officials determine the city’s target areas: A survey done by Bartlett Tree Experts of about 700 trees on city property, a survey of about 300 residents and information from the state.

Klepach, a faculty member in the biology department at Colby College who is heading up the browntail moth effort, said severe infestations can be found along Quarry Road, off North Street; Veterans Memorial Park, near the library; near Waterville Junior High School, off West River Road; and along the west side of First Rangeway, off Kennedy Memorial Drive.

The neighborhoods near the former Seton Hospital, off Lincoln Street, and the area between Messalonskee Stream, Sunset Terrace and Morrill Avenue also have heavy infestations, according to Klepach.

Poisonous hairs shed by browntail moth caterpillars can cause rashes on humans, similar to those caused by poison ivy. If inhaled, the hairs can cause respiratory issues in those with sensitivities.

The City Council voted unanimously last year to allocate $100,000 to the browntail moth mitigation effort.

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