Invasive winter moths spread into Maine

Posted Dec. 09, 2012, at 9:14 a.m.
Last modified Dec. 10, 2012, at 6:53 a.m.
The winter moth (Operophtera brumata) is an invasive species first discovered in Massachusetts in the 1990s.
Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
The winter moth (Operophtera brumata) is an invasive species first discovered in Massachusetts in the 1990s.
Hungry winter moth inchworms, an invasive insect, eat oak tree leaves in Harpswell in this photograph taken last May by the Maine Forest Service.
Maine Forest Service
Hungry winter moth inchworms, an invasive insect, eat oak tree leaves in Harpswell in this photograph taken last May by the Maine Forest Service.

PORTLAND, Maine — An invasive moth that can damage hardwood and fruit trees has been spreading in Maine.

State officials are asking residents to be on the lookout for winter moths, which have spread into Maine from southern New England, where they have caused widespread damage.

The moth was first detected along the Maine coast in 2006 and has been spotted in the past year in Harpswell and Vinalhaven.

The Maine Sunday Telegram says state officials have reported 13 sightings of moths in Cape Elizabeth, as well as scattered reports from Scarborough, South Portland, Portland, Falmouth, Woolwich, Westport Island and Brunswick.

Residents are being asked to keep an eye out for the moths, which are likely to be flying in swarms this time of year, and capture some specimens if they can.

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