The Brown Tail Moth

24 Jun

While most of us welcome the summer months, the arrival of a new pest could make you think twice about spending lots time in your garden. The brown tail moth are often found along the coast of south eastern England living in vast colonies. They are known to build webs that can house several hundred caterpillars. Not only do brown tail moth caterpillars cause devastation among your plants but if you are particularly unlucky, they can cause irritation to your skin and potentially leave quite a nasty rash.

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Brown tail moth caterpillars emerge during late spring/early summer, eating the buds and leaves from nearby bushes and trees. Although the caterpillars prefer hawthorn or blackberry bushes, they will eat practically any type of tree or bush. Heavily infested trees are weakened by the loss of leaves, meaning that the likelihood for fruit that year is dramatically decreased. This is particularly irritating for gardeners as it means all their hard work goes to waste. Not only does it cause a problem to your vegetation but it also releases hairs into the air which can cause skin irritation and can affect some people quite severely.

How do I spot them?

Brown tail moth caterpillars are roughly 3-4cm long and they have a distinctive spotted pattern of red and orange dots against its dark brown body. They carry spiked and barbed hairs, so if you come into contact with them you might find you develop a rash. This can be a particular problem for anyone who suffers with asthma as it is possible that these hairs could be inhaled, and if precautions aren’t taken, could cause breathing difficulties.

What should I do if I have an infestation?

The best way to check if you have an infestation of brown tail moth caterpillars is to check to see whether any of your trees or bushes have lost a significant amount of leaves. The caterpillars tend to live in groups or “tents” which are nests they create between small branches. These clumps of cobweb like material will release irritant hairs when disturbed. It is important to take protective measures when carrying out any treatment. Always wear thick clothing, rubber gloves and welly boots so that you cover all bare skin where possible to prevent coming into contact with the caterpillars. If you are spraying insecticide follow the instructions carefully and take note of any recommended safety measures. If you are looking for a much simpler option that will save you time and money then call our skilled team at Abate. With over 55 years combined experience in solving a multitude of pest problems across Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire we are always on hand to solve your pest problems.

If you have a problem with moths and would like further information, please call us for free on 0800 980 9609 or call 01953 603390.  Alternatively you can purchase a treatment to deal with your moth problem through our online shop http://www.abateltd.co.uk/product.asp?page_id=33&prodCat=1

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