UK households given toxic caterpillar alert and they 'make it hard to breathe'

An urgent summer warning over swarm of toxic CATERPILLARS invading the UK which cause rashes and make it hard to breathe has been issued. The black caterpillars have venomous white hairs around their body.

The Forestry Commission's oak processionary moth project manager Andrew Hoppit said: "It is important those living and working in areas affected by oak processionary moth remain vigilant about the health risks they pose, when enjoying outdoor spaces, as we are entering the greatest risk period."

Professor Nicola Spence, UK chief plant health officer, said: "Oak trees are an iconic and much-loved part of our British landscape. By reporting any sightings of the oak processionary moth to the Forestry Commission, we can all minimise the pest's spread as well as reduce their impact on tree health.

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"I would advise that members of the public living in London, the surrounding areas and Derbyshire, avoid any contact with the caterpillar and its nests, as this can cause irritation." The Forestry Commission has released a warning as the country heads into summer.

The caterpillars, which are around 2cm long when fully grown, the experts have warned Brits up and down the country, and they will have black heads and bodies which are covered in long white hairs. It is a protein in the hair which will cause itchy rashes, eye, and throat irritations. If you spot the caterpillar, sightings can be reported via the Commission’s Tree Alert portal.

Alternatively call 0300 067 4442. Anyone who thinks they have come into contact with one of the caterpillars should visit a pharmacist for help with milder reactions or consult a GP for more serious reactions, the experts have gone on to warn.

And the experts have also said that if animals have been seriously affected animal owners should contact their vet for help and treatment.