When you hear "brown-tail moth", you aren't immediately intimidated. Moths are typically annoying pests that flock towards the lights on your deck in the summertime. But these particular moths are not something to be messed with.

Brown-tail moth caterpillars have hairs that are toxic for humans. They can cause rashes similar to poison ivy, and can even cause breathing problems in some people, which is very scary!

You don't even need to touch a caterpillar to show these symptoms, as their hair can become airborne in the wind.

Trees aren't safe either, as the moths begin feeding on them, causing them to be destroyed.

According to WMUR, officials with the New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands have been collecting bugs, with a large focus on the brown-tail moth. Their findings indicate that for many years, the brown-tail moth was common in Southern Maine. It was only a matter of time before they decided to cross the border and grace us with their presence.

Om Star Island, the experts collected some winter webs of the brown-tail moth. Star Island is the only place in New Hampshire where they have been reported so far, and the hope is that if they destroy the webs (by solarizing them), the problem will not escalate statewide.

The article goes on to explain that the presence of these bugs could be present in any New Hampshire town bordering Maine.

How do you spot a brown-tail moth?

They are dark brown with a fuzzy appearance and two conspicuous red-orange spots on their tails' end.

According to Kennebec Pharmacy, here are seven precautions you should take to avoid a brown-tail moth rash this summer:

  1. Take the necessary steps to remove webs from your property.
  2. . Avoid places that are heavily infested with caterpillars during the spring and early summer.
  3.  Keep car and house windows closed in high-risk areas.
  4.  Abstain from air-drying laundry or rugs outside.
  5.  Use caution when doing yard work in heavily infested areas.
  6.  Hold off on doing any yard work during dry, windy days.
  7.  Stay informed about browntail moth throughout the year.

If you see them, don't touch them, but snap a photo and send it along to nhbugs.org. As the experts say, "Getting it identified before you start handling it is the key."

April through August is the window of time that poses the greatest risk of exposure. Stay safe, my friends!

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