Maine Department of Agriculture and Forestry offers the following advice to remove cocoons spun by browntail moths.

Use caution. Cocoons are full of the hairs that can cause a rash. Remember that these hairs will persist until next year or longer.

If you want to remove cocoons (different from the overwintering webs), wear protective clothing, wet down cocoons before removing them, pressure wash or scrape cocoons off structures or clip out of favorite plants. Place a drop cloth to collect cocoons, and soak overnight in soapy water before composting or throwing in the trash.

Browntail caterpillars wander and form their cocoons anywhere in the area. Favorite places include under the eaves on a building or underside of anything as well as in the leaves of any plant.

For more information about browntail moths, go online to maine.gov/dacf/mfs/forest_health/insects/browntail_moth.htm.