Parents Warned of Poisonous Caterpillar in London

West London oak trees have become susceptible to a toxic breed of caterpillar, and parents have been advised to ensure animals and children keep their distance from both the foliage and nests.

Exposure to the caterpillars’ hairs can cause irritation of the throat and the eyes, itchy rashes, and even difficulty breathing, according to

This isn’t the only damage these pesky pests can cause though, as, in large infestations, they can leave trees susceptible to disease, and increase the risk of other pests moving in.

Currently, The Forestry Commission, alongside land managers and relevant councils, are battling these pests with the removal of existing nests and the treatment of affected trees.

Director of The Forestry Commission in England, Ian Gambles, commented on the issue, saying:

“We need reports of the caterpillars or their nests from the public or others, such as gardeners, tree surgeons and ground care workers, who work or relax near oak trees.”

“However, they should not try to remove the caterpillars or nests themselves. This needs to be carefully timed to be effective and is most safely done by specially trained and equipped operators.”

Among the affected locations are Bromley, Spelthorne in Surrey, and a couple of boroughs situated in southwest and west London.

In terms of treatment, if you have been exposed to one of these toxic caterpillars, it is strongly recommended that you visit a local pharmacist, so they can prescribe something that will provide relief for milder symptoms. Local health professionals have also been advised, so they can identify and help to relieve serious symptoms effectively.

Other advice, provided by Dr. Deborah Turbitt, of Health Protection in the capital, said:

“We strongly advise people not to touch or approach the caterpillars or their nests because of the health risks posed by the hairs. Pets can also be affected, and should be kept away as well. The Forestry Commission website has pictures to help identify the pest.”

Of course, if you’re concerned about another pest that may be making its home in your property, get in touch today to find out more about what we can do for you. Not only do we provide specialist pest control services at a fair price, but we also ensure the job gets done swiftly and efficiently, so you can return to your day-to-day in no time at all.


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