A cocoon of browntail moth caterpillars were found on a tree on Mount Megunticook in Camden Hills State Park on Saturday, May 14, 2022. Credit: Rosemary Lausier / BDN

It was another big year for browntail moths in Maine, but they were not as abundant as last year, according to surveys by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

The invasive insects have expanded their range across the state over the last decade, and are often abundant enough to give Mainers irritating rashes.

The moths defoliated 150,000 acres this year, versus nearly 200,000 in 2021. Kennebec County saw far fewer browntail moths this year, while they were more abundant in Androscoggin, Hancock and Waldo counties. A fungal pathogen that kills browntail moths got a boost from several rainy days in May.

The department received more than 500 calls and emails about the moths.

This story appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.