Browntail Moth Awareness Month Update

Browntail Moth Awareness Month Update

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Maine Forest Service

Reminder: February is Browntail Moth
Awareness Month!




Please join us in raising awareness and taking action to reduce this pest’s impact!

Not sure how to recognize or remove the webs? Follow the Four Rs below. 

BTM Caterpillars in a line

Four Rs to Reduce Browntail Moth

Recognize BTM

Learn to recognize if the trees where you live, work, and play have browntail winter webs

Recognize graphics 5

On sunny days, look for palm-sized webs on the tips of branches. Webs can look like a clump of leaves with white silk tightly around the leaf stem.

Remove BTM

With permission, remove and destroy browntail webs. Use hand snips or an extendable pole pruner to remove webs within reach of the ground and away from hazards such as powerlines.

Man using pruners on tree

Use hand snips or extendable pole pruners to remove webs within reach of the ground and away from hazards such as powerlines.

Recruit BTM

In areas where hairs will be a nuisance or hazard, recruit professional help to treat webs on the property you own or manage. Licensed professional arborists employing lifts and climbers and FAA certified remote pilots with clipper-outfitted drones offer services to remove browntail webs in larger trees and shrubs in the winter. Licensed pesticide applicators may be able to use insecticides during the growing season to manage browntail moth.

Browntail moth winter webs in large oak trees

In large, heavily infested trees like these oaks, removal of webs may not be practical because of the time and cost involved in this approach. In trees like this that are a concern from the standpoint of human health or nuisance, licensed pesticide applicators may be able to use insecticides to help reduce impacts from browntail caterpillars.

Reach Out BTM

If you find browntail winter webs in your neighborhood, reach out and let your neighbors and town officials know. The more neighbors, businesses, and others that get together to respond to the problem, the better the results. Consider hosting your own browntail web clipping event in your neighborhood to reduce the itch for your family and your community!

Hand holding a winter web, a line of cars in the background

Vehicles line the road at a community web-clipping event in Deer Isle. Foreground, browntail web in serviceberry. The more neighbors, businesses, and others that get together to respond to the problem, the better the results.

BTM Caterpillars in a line

Upcoming Browntail Moth Awareness Month Events

Everyone is invited to participate in the following Browntail Moth Awareness Month events or set up community events. Use #KnockOutBTM on social media to share your efforts this winter. Some ideas for activities include mapping infestations on the town and public properties, hosting public service web-clipping events, creating contests for the most webs clipped or other community, and knowledge building activities. Share in the comments of the featured post on Maine Bug Watch.

DACF 2023 Events:

The staff at the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry are participating in these upcoming events:

February 8, 2023, 6:30 PM to 8:15 PM 
Cost: Free
Location: Virtual

The Southern Maine Volkssport Association (SMVA) is virtually hosting MFS Entomologist Tom Schmeelk for a webinar on the biology, history, life cycle, current situation, management and mitigation strategies for browntail moth. Pre-register via email by contacting Denise Macaronas at


Other 2023 Events:

We’re pleased to share information about these other community events on browntail moth! Please note that the DACF does not sponsor or endorse the following events.

February 11, 2023, 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Cost: Free
Location: Woodlawn Museum (19 Black House Dr, Ellsworth, Maine)
The Hancock County Soil & Water Conservation District is hosting a workshop about identifying browntail moth, and how to remove their winter webs using a pole lopper. This is an outdoor event, please dress in warm layers appropriate to the weather that day. The workshop will begin near the carriage barn (green and white building across from the construction). Registration is not required.

Feb 16, 2023: 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM (Weather Date: February 17)
Cost: Free
Location: Orono Middle School
Join local educators to learn about the best way to mitigate browntail moth in your landscape at this “Love Your Landscape: Browntail Moth Mitigation and Education Event” held at RSU 26 in Orono. Meet at the apple trees behind the Orono Middle School, across from the tennis court. Please park in the lot behind the Orono Middle School/Orono High School. Bring gloves, eye protection, loppers, pole pruners, buckets and dress for the weather and snow/ice conditions. Review safety information on web clipping under “Management” at the Browntail Moth FAQ page. This will be an outdoor, hands-on event.

Hosted by Megan Schneider, Realtor with Better Homes and Gardens, Masiello Group, in collaboration with Maine Forest Service, Town of Orono, Orono Tree Board, and RSU 26.

February 18, 2023, 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM
Cost: Free
Location: 527 Center Minot Hill Rd, Minot, Maine
Join the Maine Invasive Species Network and University of Maine Cooperative Extension for a hands-on workshop to learn how to recognize and remove browntail moth winter webs. This is an outdoor event; please dress in warm layers appropriate to the weather that day. Bring your own pruning equipment and work gloves if you can. Pole saws, hand saws, and loppers will be available for participants to try as well. More information and to register for the event can be found on their Events page. Registration is requested, but not required.

February 2023
Cost: Free
Location: Your neighborhood!
Host your own neighborhood clipping event during Browntail Moth Awareness Month! It’s a great way to stay in touch with your community during the winter season, and it’s an even better way to reduce browntail populations to protect you, your family, and your neighbors. Share your event on the featured post of Maine Bug Watch.

Knock Out BTM

For more information:

Visit the Maine Forest Service webpage, explore the resources, and subscribe to news bulletin topics. Review and share news and eventsFAQs, and management techniques. Test the BTM interactive map and read the latest research.