AUGUSTA (AP) — Those who are scratching their head over an invasive moth species are getting some help.

The tiny hairs of the browntail moth caterpillars can cause itchy rashes like poison ivy, along with respiratory distress.

The state is offering four free presentations on managing and preventing exposure to the browntail moth this month.

Last year, infestation of the pesky insect impacted hundreds of people in the central coastal area of Maine, the state estimates. This year’s infestation is expected to be much larger — with caterpillar webs already spotted from York County to Washington County last fall.

The caterpillars will begin to emerge in May.

Sessions will be held Feb. 17 in Augusta, Feb. 22 in Bath, Feb. 27 in Wiscasset and Feb. 28 in Kennebunkport.

The browntail moth larva has prickly hairs covering its body. It has a broken white line on each side of its brown body and two orange-red spots on the end of its back. These dots are one behind the other. The caterpillars grow to about an inch and a half and are active during May and June.

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