The United Kingdom is facing a deadly caterpillar (oath procession months) contagion which seems to pose a threat to the health of residents, causing severe skin rashes, deadly asthma, and vomiting. Not only that, it was noticed that hair in the body of the caterpillar caused dizziness and fever.
The pests’ hairs can also cause serious damage to dogs and cats if not properly controlled.
So, the Royal Forestry Society in London is issuing a warning to residents not to touch the oath procession moths (OPM) and has urged them to report quickly as soon as they spot them. The Forestry Commission warns that the outbreak of the OPM could spread throughout England.
A spokesman for the Forestry Commission said:
‘It is theoretically possible that if [the pests] were to spread [they] could survive and breed in much of England and Wales.’
The hairs on the body of these months are what make them very dangerous to the health of individuals since they contain toxins which are responsible for the dizziness, eye and throat irritations, and severe fever experienced.
The Oak procession moths are in the larval stage and there has been a fast-rising number spotted in London over the past two weeks.
The Forestry spokesman said:
“OPM caterpillars were spotted emerging from egg plaques in mid-April, so we started treating trees with an approved insecticide during the week. The treatment programme is expected to continue for about five or six weeks. We aim to complete this while the caterpillars are still small enough. We will treat oak trees at more than 500 sites in the ‘Control Zone’ and around London.”
A spokesman for Richmond Council said that their tree contractors would be out and the trees affected by the OPM be treated without procrastination. Nevertheless, he warned that residents should not handle the months since they (moths) are very dangerous to their health.
The caterpillars are very easy to differentiate from others; their bodies are extraordinarily hairy and white and having silk-like nests on the oath trees.
The nests have been confirmed in some of the safest places to live in London like Bexley in South London as well as Richmond. Other places that have been confirmed are Croydon, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Watford.
To ensure the health of citizens, the Forestry spokesman said that a government-led programme of survey and control had been set up in these affected aforementioned areas so as to minimize population, spread, and impacts.