Browntail Moth

Arborjet | Ecologel, a leader in plant health, offers successful injection treatment for the browntail moth, which has recently made a strong resurgence across the northeast. Experts predict this will be a bad year for the invasive insect, “possibly the worst it’s been in over 100 years.”

The browntail moth was accidentally introduced into Somerville, Massachusetts from Europe in the late 1800’s. By the 20th century, the insect had spread to all of the New England states, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The Maine Forestry Department says that browntail moth populations are again building in Maine and in areas along the coastal northeast.

The larval stage (caterpillar) of this insect feeds on the foliage of hardwood trees and shrubs including: oak, shadbush, apple, cherry, beach plum, and rugosa rose. This causes reduction of growth and occasional mortality of trees and shrubs. Arborjet offers an environmentally responsible tree injection treatment, TREE-äge R10, to control the browntail moth populations for up to two years. Technicians at Arborjet state “ACE-jet is also an important part of spring treatment, providing fast knockdown of the pest.” The effective methods inject and seal the treatments directly into a tree’s vascular system so nothing seeps into the air or soil.

“We have been using TREE-äge® to treat against browntail moths in Maine with great success. Arborjet products and injection methods have combined to make us a business leader in this public health nuisance related to the moths. We can safely treat near the water, playgrounds, parks and other places to protect people and save the trees,” said Morgan Bartlett, Wicked Tick.

While feeding damage causes concern, the browntail moth’s primary impact on people results from contact with poisonous hairs produced by the caterpillars. Microscopic, toxic hairs break off the caterpillars and can be airborne or settle on surfaces. Sensitive individuals who encounter the hairs may develop a skin rash similar to poison ivy and/or have trouble breathing.

“Timely treatment is even more important with the bowntail moth than most other leaf-feeding insects because of the risk to humans posed by contact with their hairs. Treatments can be done in the spring when caterpillar larvae become active, as leaf expansion occurs, beginning in May into June. If infestations persist in your area, then treatment is recommended again in the early fall, when new caterpillars emerge from egg masses. This will significantly reduce the severity of infestation the following season,” said Rob Gorden, Director of Urban Forestry and Business Development for Arborjet.

Gorden will be hosting a webinar on leaf eating caterpillars on May 11.


For further information,please contact:

Kevin Brewer Northeast Technical Manager

Cell: 401-222-9341

ISA Board Certified Master Arborist


Media Contact: Kelly Rostad