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Huge webs appear on the Somerset hedge – but don’t touch them Bath City News

Large white webs have been spotted on a hedge in Somerset.

The natural phenomenon is actually a nest woven by caterpillars, but nature enthusiasts are warned to enjoy the view from a distance.

A nature fan has spotted this nest near where she lives in the region and believes it to be the “oak processionary moth (OPM)”, known to be dangerous to humans, animals. and plant life.

According to, OPM nests are usually dome or teardrop shaped, about the average size of a tennis ball. They are white when fresh, but quickly turn discolored and brown.

Caterpillars have a black head and a body covered with long white hairs that contain proteins that can cause itching, irritation of the eyes and throat.

They can also occasionally cause breathing difficulties in people and pets, so they should not be touched under any circumstances.

Forestry England Director for South East England Craig Harrison said: “The public and those working in green spaces such as arborists and gardeners can help by reporting any suspected sightings of OPM.

“However, they should not touch the caterpillars or the nests themselves; disposal is carried out safely by specially trained and equipped pest control experts.”

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The most risky period is May through July, when the caterpillars emerge and feed before turning into adult butterflies, but the nests should not be touched at any time.

Caterpillars feed on oak leaves, which can make trees vulnerable to other pests and diseases and to drought.

Click here for more information and to report sightings of oak processionary caterpillars.

London’s deputy director for health protection for public health in England, Dr Deborah Turbitt, endorsed the ‘do not touch’ advice, saying: ‘We strongly advise against people touching or approaching caterpillars or their nests due to the health risks posed by the Hair.

“Pets and livestock can also be affected and should be kept away as well. The Forestry Commission website contains pictures to help identify the pest.

“People should see a pharmacist for relief from mild skin or eye irritation following possible contact with OPM, or see a general practitioner or the NHS111 for more serious reactions. Contact a veterinarian if animals are. seriously affected. “

Any observation must be reported to the Forestry Commission via its online Tree Alert form.

Alternatively, people can email or call 0300 067 4442.

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This notice was published: 2021-06-02 07:53:52

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