Be aware that caterpillars of the Brown-tail moth are active in the area. These caterpillars may pose a risk to human health.
The caterpillars are dark brown in colour with a white stripe down both sides of the body. They have two raised orange/red tufts to the rear of their body and are covered in hairs. In July the adult female moth, which is white with a brown hairy abdomen, lays her eggs and protects them with hairs combed from her abdomen. In the spring these visible web-like tents can be seen on the host plants. The caterpillars feed on a wide range of plants which include Bramble, Dog rose and Blackthorn.
The caterpillars are considered a risk to human health when the hairs, which are spiked and barbed, are shed and come into contact with exposed parts of the body. This may result in an irritating rash or if the hairs are inhaled can cause respiratory problems. Anyone suffering an allergic reaction as a result of coming into contact with these caterpillars should seek medical advice.
For advice on the control of the caterpillars and nests contact your local Environmental Health Officer.
Post by Dave Haldane