Londoners warned over toxic caterpillars

Image copyright PA
Image caption The particular Forestry Commission has issued the warning to steer clear of the toxic caterpillar

An outbreak of toxic caterpillars that can cause asthma attacks, throwing up and skin rashes has originated on London, officials have cautioned.

Oak processionary moths (OPM), which are in their larval phase, have been spotted across the south-east associated with England and in the capital.

Hairs on the caterpillars can cause fevers and eye and throat agitation, the Forestry Commission said.

The organisation provides issued a caution not to contact the species.

The greatest infestations of OPM were documented in Greater London, stemming through Kingston upon Thames to Brent.

Some infestations had been also spotted in Bracknell Woodland, Slough and Guildford.

Image copyright Forestry Commission rate
Image caption The red dots suggest where OPM nests were present in 2017/18

OPM caterpillars were spotted rising from egg plaques in mid-April, and trees were later dealt with on 23 April, the Forestry Commission added.

“The treatment programme is expected to carry on until late May or earlier June, ” a spokesman mentioned.

“After that the caterpillars will be too large to be affected by our favored treatment product. ”

‘Violently sick’

One gardener was clearing a good overgrown allotment unaware that an walnut tree above her was infested with OPM.

The lady said she suffered “severe symptoms” after coming into contact with the types.

“My first sign was a rash on my belly. I was unaware of what is was plus thought at first it was a high temperature rash, ” she said.

“During this time I had means of feeling violently sick. I think I might have shingles.

“The rash got even worse and the left side of our face became covered in this aching irritating rash. My left eyesight became very sore and weepy.

“I approached my doctor and it was verified I had been severely affected by OPM plus must keep away from the source as with time I had developed a severe allergic attack. ”


Precautions to minimise health problems:

  • Do not touch or even approach nests or caterpillars
  • Do not allow children touch or approach nests or caterpillars
  • Do not let animals contact or approach nests or caterpillars; or try removing nests or even caterpillars yourself

Source: Forestry Commission


Image copyright Other
Image caption The particular caterpillar of the oak processionary moth has about 62, 000 poisonous hairs

As a caterpillar, each OPM provides about 62, 000 hairs, that they can eject.

Hair that fall to the ground could be active for up to five years.

The moths only reside for two to three days within July or August.

It is thought that the moths had been brought into the UK on trees and shrubs imported from Europe for a panorama project.

A inhabitants of OPM established itself on the western part of the country London area in 2006.

Key identifying top features of OPM:

  • Move regarding in nose-to-tail processions
  • Often type arrow-headed processions, with one chief and subsequent rows containing many caterpillars abreast
  • Are most likely to be found within oak trees, and sometimes on a lawn under oak trees
  • Are most likely to appear in late spring and early summer season
  • Have very long, white hairs which usually contrast markedly with other, shorter hair
  • Do not live on fences, walls plus similar structures, as some caterpillar types do

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