Poisonous Caterpillars Expand Territory as Tick Problems Persist


HYANNIS – Brown-tail moth caterpillars that are native to the coastline of Maine and Cape Cod have been expanding their territory this year.

The insects have been seen across all 16 counties of Maine.

Contact with the caterpillars has been known to cause skin rashes and even breathing problems in rare cases.

The caterpillars have white dashes down their sides, two red dots on their back, and are roughly 1.5 inches long.

The hairs that cover their body are poisonous, and although some people have no reaction to them, others can develop uncomfortable symptoms especially if the hairs are somehow inhaled.

Cape Cod Cooperative Extension Etymologist Larry Dapsis, however, believes deer ticks are a more pressing concern for Cape Cod residents, especially as more head outdoors to enjoy summer weather.

“We’re not dealing with tick season, we’re dealing with people season. People are just getting outside just to get some fresh air and now have to be reminded,” Dapsis said in a recent interview.

Wearing longer pants and avoiding walking through taller grass can help prevent tick bites.

About Maura MacDonald

Maura recently graduated college with a degree in political science and a passion for all things media. She also enjoys writing when not in the NewsCenter, working on projects such as her novel and music, and spending time with her dog.

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