Beware – Caterpillars on the march

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Residents are being advised to be vigilant after the discovery of oak processionary moth caterpillars in Surrey. The caterpillars cause significant damage to oak trees by eating their leaves and can be a health risk to people and animals. Residents are strongly advised not to touch the caterpillars or their nests as their microscopic hairs contain a toxin that is known to cause itchy skin rashes, itchy eyes and a sore throat.

As the name suggests, they move in nose-to-tail processions along 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.

If you see them or their nests are sighted, report to either: Forestry Commission on 0300 0674442,email opm@forestry.gsi.gov.uk or Woking Borough Council’s Arboricultural Officer on 01483 755855 or email tree.preservation@woking.gov.uk

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