Large webs being found in Dorset gardens

Large webs being found in Dorset gardens

Published by Maria Greenwood at 11:49am 6th May 2020.

If you've seen lots of large webs on shrubs and bushes in your garden, do not touch them.

They could be coming from the Brown-Tail Moth Caterpillar. 

The insect comes out of their cocoons around May and June time, but Dorset Council are getting reports of lots appearing on shrubbery.

The Caterpillar can only be identified once they've emerged from their cocoons but, just like their name, they are small, brown and hairy with two bright yellow or orange dots, in a line on their back. 

brown tail moth caterpillar

Once out of their cocoon and they've finished overwintering, they eat their surroundings.

The authority is telling us not to panic if we see one, leave them alone and stay away from areas where there are lots of them.

Cllr Ray Bryan is Dorset Council's Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, he says:

 "Our advice is to avoid brown tail moth caterpillars, which emerge every spring, rather than try to destroy them.

"Dorset Council treat infestations on rights of way and council owned land by managing the vegetation or with chemical treatment, where appropriate.

"If you have concerns about an infestation on your own property, then specialist companies can be employed."  

'Why can Brown-Tail Moth Caterpillars pose a problem?'

The Brown-Tail Moth Caterpillars have hairs which can cause irritation to our skin, so do not touch them or pick them up. In severe cases, the Caterpillars can also cause breathing difficulties.

  • If you spot one of the insects on your daily exercise route, stay away and leave them alone.  
  • If you've touched one and a rash does appear, usually on your hands, arms and neck then apply antihistamine cream or calamine lotion. 
  • Symptoms should calm down after a few hours but if it doesn't then seek medical help.
  • If there are Caterpillars in your home or garden, put on some rubber gloves, pick them up and drop them in a bucked of soapy and salty water.

Here's some advice if your plants and shrubs have been eaten by Caterpillars.