ORONO — Researchers at the University of Maine seek public input on browntail moth control methods.

Devin Rowe, a doctorate student in the lab of UMaine forest entomologist Angela Mech, and McKenna Mollner, a master’s student in the lab of UMaine economist Mariano Teisl, developed the survey to help researchers, as well as government and community leaders, understand Mainers’ views on how to control browntail moths. The study may ultimately inform widespread response to this growing threat to people and plants.

Maine is experiencing its worst browntail moth outbreak since the invasive pest first arrived more than a century ago. In their caterpillar phase, browntail moths shed delicate, venomous hairs that can irritate skin and lungs, according to a news release from Erin Miller with the university.

The bristles are light enough to float on air, making them easy to inhale, and persist in the environment for years. The caterpillars also defoliate trees which, when occurs repeatedly, may stress them to the point of death.

The anonymous, 15-20-minute survey is available at umaine.qualtrics.com until Friday, Aug. 4. Those who complete the survey can enter a raffle for one of 10 $75 gift cards to L.L. Bean.

This research is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Research Traineeship program to support UMaine’s Initiative for One Health and the Environment. Mech’s and Teisl’s labs are both supported by UMaine’s Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station.

For more information, email Miller at erin.miller@maine.edu.



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