Monday, June 01, 2009

Invasion of the killer caterpillar

A PLAGUE of killer caterpillars is sparking health alerts across Britain.


Brown tail moth caterpillars each have up to two million hairs which can break off, get into the air and cause severe allergic reactions.

Thousands of the moths recently invaded a housing estate near Trowbridge, Wilts, where worried residents came out in itchy rashes.

And a family restaurant near Folkestone, Kent, was forced to close part of its car park over health fears.


Julie Payne, 35, lives on the affected housing estate.

She said: “Every time we went into the garden we found caterpillars everywhere.

“Then we noticed there were thousands of what looked like cobwebs in our cherry tree.

“We now know they are the moths’ nests.

“The children started coming out in spots and they could not stop scratching themselves.”

Inhaling or touching the tiny bristles can also lead to potentially fatal breathing problems, plus headaches and conjunctivitis.

But the caterpillars pose no threat when they turn into moths, which is due to happen in about four weeks.

The Health Protection Agency has warned the public to wash their hands and eyes should they come into contact with the caterpillars, and use calamine lotion if they develop a rash.


Link to original source: caterpillar

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