Franklin Countys First News

RLHT places spruce budworm traps

RANGELEY - for the fourth season Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust will be working with the Maine Forest Service and Seven Islands Land Company to continue its annual installation of spruce budworm traps. Multiple traps have been placed on four separate RLHT properties and will be taken down by September to be sent to Maine Forest Service for estimations on population size and spread.

Spruce budworm is a native species of moth larvae in Maine that feeds on black and red spruce, larch, fir, and hemlock trees. A single tree can be defoliated in as little as two years’ time, and this rapid loss results in reduced forest value and an increased potential of wildfires. Spruce budworm outbreaks occur every 30-60 years and are very severe. The last outbreak in Maine was in the 1970s, so annual monitoring is important for forest health.

Although a native species, the SBW mimics many of the core traits of an invasive like its immense number of offspring, and through the results of climate change, Maine is continually becoming a habitable place for invasive & harmful species to spread.

Outbreaks or single trees can be controlled on the ground using pesticides approved by the EPA and the Maine Board of Pesticides Control, but the key to preventing massive tree die offs and other major forest disturbances is early detection.

RLHT is being proactive in an effort to make the outbreak easier to control, should it occur. To learn more about the Spruce Budworm, we urge you to visit the Maine Forest Service at:

RLHT maintains traditional public access and uses of over 14000 acres of conservation land for recreation, education, and scientific study. They operate EcoVenture Youth Camp, Headwaters Lake Protection Program, and offer remote and traditional camping through Cupsuptic Lake Park & Campground.

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  1. Readers interested in the coming spruce budworm outbreak may want to check out the website maintained by the Maine Spruce Budworm Task Force (; comprising Maine Forest Service, University of Maine, Maine Forest Products Council and others) which covers research, policy, budworm facts, education, and historical issues as well as outbreak and tracking maps.