News icon




Winter Moths: Tree warden asks residents to report sightings, preventive measures taken

Click image to report winter-moth sightings using our online form, or contact Tree Warden Todd Robbins,

With Thanksgiving now leftovers and holiday shopping underway, the town's tree warden is asking residents to also be on the lookout for winter moths.

The brown moths that have invaded Cape Elizabeth in recent years are due to begin mating soon and throughout December and January. Evening skies are sometimes thick with them. If you see them, please let Tree Warden Todd Robbins know.

"I'm not certain about (moth) mortality rates due to this type of early cold, but it has to be significant ... time will tell," Robbins said in an email. Early cold and snow we've experienced this season affects the moth larvae's ability to rise from the ground and begin mating, he said.

"Please encourage residents to communicate their findings so I can compare with last season," he said.

Last season residents throughout town placed sticky bands around trees to catch female moths as they moved up the trees to find nesting places. This prevents large numbers of offspring from defoliating the host trees in the spring.

Residents have banded trees again this year and the town has also rebanded trees on municipal property.

Robbins has his fingers crossed that this, plus the recent cold temperatures, will diminish the moth's impact and, with the help of a rising water table this summer and fall, will mean a "banner year" for trees in Cape Elizabeth in the spring. "We need it!" he said.

Residents wishing to report moth sightings, or other information about preventive or other winter moth activity, are asked to fill out our online form, and/or contact Robbins directly, 207-756-4113 or