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Home / Health / The toxic caterpillar plague hits London-spreading rashes, asthma attacks

The toxic caterpillar plague hits London-spreading rashes, asthma attacks



Caterpillars of oak spinners have invaded London (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

A plague of poisonous caterpillars hit London and left a trail of severe rashes and (1

9659004) wildlife Experts warn people not to touch the Oak Process Moths (OPM) and urged everyone to report nests as soon as they spot them.

OPMs are now in their caterpillar phase can cause rashes, asthma attacks, eye and throat irritation, vomiting, dizziness and fever.

A Richmond Council spokesperson tweeted this week: "Our builders will be on their way to treat trees that are affected by hatching of the oak processioner." Moths. Please do not treat the moths as they pose a threat to your health. "

The Royal Forestry Society wrote on Twitter: "It's time to be vigilant!" Oak Processionary Spinners Discovered in Parks. "

The moths are in the caterpillar stage (Image: Wikimedia Commons )

A Forestry Commission spokesman said that pest controllers were sent out this week and target nests in southeast England.

The spokesman said, "OPM caterpillars were popped out of the egg plaques in mid-April, so we started treating trees with an approved insecticide during the week

" The treatment program is expected to take five to six weeks We will complete this as long as the caterpillars are small enough.

"We will treat oaks at more than 500 locations in the" control zone "in and around London."

He added, "The larvae, or caterpillars of the oak processionary moth can affect the health of oaks, humans and animals. "

A protein in the tiny hairs of the caterpillars can cause skin and eye irritation, sore throat and difficulty breathing in humans and animals.

The caterpillar hair can cause severe skin rash (Picture: Getty)
The hairstyles OPM caterpillars are most easily recognized by their pronounced habit of moving in nose – to – tail processions in late spring and early summer, from which they receive their name and the fact that they live and feed almost exclusively on oak trees.

Hair on the caterpillars contain toxins called thamentopoei and health experts have warned that you do not even have to be in direct contact with them be carried in the wind or fired as a defense mechanism.

The nests – which are white and tennis ball-shaped or extend to a length of about 3 feet – contain hundreds of caterpillars that are about two inches long

nests were found at four locations in Bexley, south London , and Richmond – with other well-known "hotspots" such as Croydon, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Southwark.

They were even found as far north as Watford

Other hotspots include Ealing, Tooting, Epping Forest in Essex, and the Twickenham area in southwest London.

The insects can be found on and around oak trees (Image: Stian Alexander)

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