Brown tail moths – an irritating problem

Although most of us enjoy a spell of good weather, it can come at a price as warmer weather sees an increase in pest activity, including the brown tail moth.

In May and June the caterpillar of this moth can be found mainly on Hawthorn and Cherry trees, and Blackberry bushes. It is dark brown/black with five red stripes on the back and a row of white scales on either side. It has two red spots on the back and the body is covered with long yellow/brown hairs.

These hairs can cause skin irritation, particularly with children, and it is important to avoid handling these caterpillars. You should seek medical advice if your eyes or throat are affected, or if any skin irritation persists for more than a few hours.

If you think you may have these pests then please contact Winchester City Council's Health and Housing Department on 01962 840222, who will be able to give you further advice on their treatment.