Harpswell to vote on UMaine brown-tail moth study, Forecaster reports

The Forecaster reported Harpswell voters will decide whether to allocate about $9,500 for the University of Maine to conduct studies on brown-tail moths and ways to naturally reduce their population. The vote follows a Board of Selectmen workshop last November where Eleanor Groden, a professor of entomology at UMaine, discussed her work as director of the university’s Browntail Moth Research Project. The program is conducted in collaboration with the Maine Forest Service, and aims to pinpoint the cause of the insect’s spread throughout Maine and eco-friendly ways to squelch it, according to the article. Hairs from brown-tail moth caterpillars can cause allergic reactions in some people, ranging from rashes to serious respiratory problems, which has made their regional surge in recent years problematic. If the warrant article passes, Groden and her students will conduct a year of work in Harpswell, taking samples of moth nests, testing different eco-friendly pest control techniques, and composing a report to the town, the article states.