Tree pest alert
The Forestry Commission has urged the public to report sightings of oak processionary moth caterpillars.
'Its caterpillars and their nests contain hairs which can cause itchy rashes, eye and throat irritations, and should not be touched under any circumstances.'
The greatest risk period is as the caterpillars emerge between May and July to feed before turning into adult moths.
Oak processionary moth caterpillars also feed on the leaves of several species of oak trees. This can cause the trees to lose their leaves, negatively impacting their growth, and become more vulnerable to other stresses, like drought.
Image credit - Forestry Commission