AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Browntail moth caterpillars can be a pain in Maine, so the state is asking residents to track the flight of the moths to get a firmer idea of where they live.

The moth's caterpillars have poisonous hairs that cause a poison ivy-like rash in humans. They can also cause respiratory distress if inhaled.

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry says the population is spreading inland and Down East from the midcoast and island communities of the state. State agriculture officials say many people in recently colonized areas may be unaware of the damage the caterpillars can do.

The state's asking residents to report where they've seen browntail moths. It says the fat and fuzzy white moths with brown bodies can often be seen around lights.