Oak processionary moths are a species whose caterpillars cause significant damage to oak trees by consuming their foliage, and can also pose a public health risk to both people and animals.
As the name suggests, the caterpillars move in nose-to-tail processions along the main stems and branches of oak trees or on the ground and often cluster together. They build white, silken webbing trails and nests – usually dome
or teardrop-shaped – on tree trunks and branches rather than amongst the leaves.
Residents are strongly advised not to touch the caterpillars or interfere with their nests as their microscopic hairs contain a toxin that is known to cause itchy skin rashes, itchy eyes and a sore throat and can occasionally cause a severe reaction to asthma sufferers.
There have been cases reported in Spelthorne and Runnymede areas and residents in the east of the Borough should look out for this pest.
to the Forestry Commission England or the Borough Arboricultural Officer at Surrey Heath Borough Council on 01276 707100 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information visit www.forestry.gov.uk/oakprocessionarymoth