BANGOR, Maine (AP) - Maine is in the midst of an especially bad year for prevalence of a species of moth that can cause an itchy rash in humans.
The browntail moth is an invasive European species that has been in Maine for decades. The hairs of their caterpillars cause the rash, and the species can also cause widespread tree defoliation.
The Bangor Daily News reports populations have been growing for the past several years, and they have been especially noticeable this summer in the state's Midcoast region and elsewhere.
Scientists say it's possible the population has been growing because of hot, dry summers followed by warm fall seasons. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Maine Forest Service say residents with questions about the moths can call 211 Maine for help.