DEAR SUN SPOTS: Recently, the Sun Journal had an article from the Morning Sentinel regarding the effort by the Waterville City Council to combat the infestation of browntail moths. I wonder if they have found any solution to this public health problem. Lewiston is overrun by the highly toxic caterpillars and they are defoliating many oak trees. —  Barbara, Lewiston

ANSWER: This is a hot topic and I understand your concerns. It seems that the pandemic started to calm down in time for the beautiful summer weather but also just when the brown tail moth, ticks and mosquitoes are wreaking havoc. It all seems so unfair after what we’ve been through!

For those who missed that article, here is the link:

This is an extensive story with a lot of information. To answer your question, I know that the issue has been reported to the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention and that many different avenues to bring prevention and relief are being looked into for the city of Waterville, as well as in other Maine towns.

Unfortunately, when the caterpillars are doing their worst damage is not the best time to act toward mitigation.

According to the article about Waterville, the councilors and those assisting them are considering their four best options: cutting the nests out of trees, which is costly and labor intensive; spraying the foliage; injecting liquid into trees, that kills moths and other insects; and cutting trees down.


Here is another informative link:

You can call or text 211 to speak to a specialist about this invasive species that causes so many health problems. You can also find more information here:

Know that in municipalities throughout Maine, those in charge are very aware of the situation and are convening to work through a solution, but it’s not going to happen overnight. In the meantime, educate yourself, protect yourself, and if you have something that works for you, please share it with others.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: In regard to the June 10 Sun Spots, I remember one night in the winter of 1956, I was pregnant and had a craving for a delicious sandwich. I lived in Auburn and bundled up to walk the mile to Labrecque’s Variety Store at Lincoln and Cedar streets. When I arrived, I asked the shopkeeper for a “submarine sandwich,” he didn’t know what I wanted, but then he said, “Oh, you mean an Italian.” We both laughed and I told him I was from Salem, Massachusetts, and there we called them a “submarine sandwich.”

Also, we didn’t call a soft drink “soda.” We called it “tonic.” I’ve had so many funny things happen over the years, now I just sit back and enjoy every one and smile. I just love your column! — No name, Auburn

ANSWER: I love your attitude! Thank you for this sweet story. Where I’m from we called soft drinks “pop.” In the third grade we got a new classmate who hailed from Massachusetts and I remember her saying “tonic.” She thought it was so weird that we said “pop.” All our differences just make life more interesting, don’t you agree?

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