Just a quick note to the community as all islanders prepare for another chowder/race weekend. I hope everyone will turn out and have great weather, good food, and the start of many stories to share next year as another “Round the Island race” weekend is put to bed. I wish you all good wind, good crew, and a close race. This event is one with fond memories for me and my family – even those of us that don’t particularly like chowder! Get something to eat and drink, listen to stories of “the wind that got away” or the “won by the length of a bowsprit”, and celebrate the history and future of the entire community.
While you’re out and about, I want to remind everyone that some of your fellow islanders (and island staff) have had nasty experiences with the infestation of Browntail Moths. As caterpillars, they release toxic hairs that become airborne and cause significant itching and rash, and sometimes respiratory problems for asthmatics. What we now know is that the hairs remain active in the shrubbery and brush even after the caterpillar becomes a moth. Islanders have developed extensive and VERY itchy rashes after clearing brush, stacking wood, and working around their homes. Unfortunately, MacMahan is right in the middle of the “high risk” area per the Forest Service (http://www.maine.gov/dacf/mfs/forest_health/documents/browntail_moth_risk_map.pdf) . Here are a few resources with information about how to protect yourself and what the moth looks like in different stages.
- http://www.maine.gov/dacf/mfs/forest_health/insects/browntail_moth.htm – Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry
- https://www.coastalpharmacyandwellness.com/browntail-moth-get-facts-now/ – pictures of larvae – moth stages, and some suggestions for preventing exposure and actions to take after exposure.
- http://www.maine.gov/dacf/mfs/forest_health/documents/browntail_moth_in_maine_history_and_current_situation_2016.pdf – Maine government PDF of history, injury and defoliation from the moth, and restrictions re: treatment and prevention.
Unfortunately, references report that hairs are toxic for up to three years, so it’s worth getting familiar with the beast. The Board will review options available for responding to our infestation.
Again, I’m sorry not to be on island to celebrate with you all. Don’t let the moths (or lack of wind?) ruin the day,
President, Sheepscot Island Company