Caterpillar of the community: Residents of suburban street are horrified by invasion of bugs that crawl through their clothes and HAIR
- Spooky, white material began to randomly appear on trees
- Has resulted in plague of caterpillars covering street
- Infestation on south London street is three inches deep in places
- Residents have had to pick the animals out of their hair and clothes
It started with a spooky, white material which began to randomly appear on trees.
Residents in a London suburban street were left completely baffled by its appearance.
But now, three weeks on, their confusion has turned to horror after discovering the material was in fact caterpillar nests.
It has resulted in a plague of bird cherry ermine caterpillars completely covering pavements, walls and cars in the street.
Odd: A freak plague of caterpillars has invaded a suburban street in south London, covering trees and walls
Invasion: Siblings Charlie and Ava Warren look at some of the caterpillars covering a tree. The infestation is three inches deep in places
The infestation, which is three inches deep in places, has resulted in residents having to pick the animals out their hair and clothes.
Trisha Mole, who lives in Warfield Road, Hampton , said: 'You cannot help but feel they are doing damage to the trees.'
A neighbour added: 'The trees are completely infested. All the trees are dripping in this white chlorophyll web thing.
'We are picking the caterpillars out of our hair and the kids' hair. It's just not on.'
Another resident, who did not want to be named, said: 'We all know that it is not harmful to us, it is just really unpleasant, really unpleasant..
Plague: Residents in the south London street have had to pick the animals out their hair and clothes. This picture shows some of the caterpillars covering a car tyre
Not happy: One resident in the street described the infestation as 'unpleasant, really unpleasant'
Unpleasant: Charlie and Ava look on in horror at some of the caterpillars
'The council is more concerned about the caterpillars than the people.'
Richmond Council said there were no safe chemicals that could be used in a public area to permanently remove the caterpillars and said the caterpillar feeding stage lasted about four weeks.
A council spokesman said: 'The caterpillars are totally harmless to humans, they only feast on the tree but the trees recover quite quickly once the caterpillars pupate and the adults start to fly
'However, we are aware that they have caused the local residents distress and we are investigating what other methods could be used to remove them.'
Councillor Gareth Roberts said: 'Unfortunately, owing to the advanced stage of the infestation, I'm advised by council officers that even if they were to use the treatments they have at their disposal they would have little effect.
'While I appreciate that this is probably of little immediate comfort I get the impression from officers that this is something of a freak occurrence and it is unlikely to recur next year, however I will ask our arboriculture team to monitor this street closely so they can act early in case it does.'
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