July 15, 2021
The browntail moth (Euproctis chrysorrhoea) is an insect that was accidentally introduced to Massachusetts from Europe in 1897. By the early 1900s, it spread into all of New England and parts of Canada. The caterpillars of this species feed on oak, shadbush, cherry, beach plum, apple, rugosa rose, and other trees and shrubs. While the feeding damage from the caterpillars on landscape specimens may be problematic, the primary cause for concern with regard to browntail moth is medical: the caterpillars of this species possess poisonous hairs that cause a rash similar to poison ivy, and, in some sensitive individuals, may cause trouble breathing or sometimes a more severe allergic reaction.