Browntail Moth Caterpillars Destroying Everything - Permethrin & Fluvalinate?

NHTimber

LawnSite Member
Location
NH
I have a small apple orchard in midcoast Maine, and this year the state is having the worst browntail moth outbreak in history, and I'm right in the middle of it. The infestation is like nothing I've ever seen, and all of the apple trees and many of the old-growth oaks are almost completely defoliated.

I should have been dealing with this two months ago, but I had to be away caring for a family member. I don't know if these trees can be saved (I'm considering tree injections), but if nothing else I need to knock these things down as much as possible to control the population next year if nothing else.

Right now my plan is, as soon as possible, to blow mist the apple trees and other flowering plants with fluvalinate, and everything else with permethrin, and call in an arborist about injecting the oaks that are too tall for me to reach the tops of.

(BTM Caterpillars have been declared a public health hazard in Maine, so some of the typical rules around pesticides have been waived.)

If anyone has any thoughts, advice, or suggestions, I'd really appreciate it. We're in a really bad spot here.
 
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NHTimber

LawnSite Member
Location
NH
I didn't even know that department existed! Thanks for the number!

I did speak with the Maine Forest Service though, and they put me in touch with a biologist or something who is on the browntail moth team (it's so bad the MFS has a team of people specifically dedicated to dealing with BTM). I told her my plan and she agreed with it (towns all over Maine are spraying, and she mentioned that even the city of Portland just sprayed all of its oak trees). She gave me the names of a couple of other products that she said they are hoping will be registered in the state for browntail moth control soon, but aren't yet. In the mean time she said she thought my plan was the best I could do.
 
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NHTimber

LawnSite Member
Location
NH
I just called the board of pesticides (thanks again for the number) and the person there said the Forest Service people are the experts, so I should do whatever they told me.
So I guess that's the plan then.
 
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NHTimber

LawnSite Member
Location
NH
BTM apparently exist throughout New England (they’re an invasive species brought from Europe to Boston in the 1800s), but they are well controlled by predators everywhere except for mid coast Maine and apparently a small part of Cape Cod, where, for some reason, apparently the predators don’t exist.
 

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