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Caterpillar which threatens UK forests set to be eradicated

02.02.2012

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In news which will reassure those involved in forestry investment across the UK and Europe, plans have been drawn up to eradicate a toxic caterpillar from West Berkshire following an outbreak last year.

The oak processionary moth (OPM) caterpillar, hatches in July and August and was discovered in Pangbourne. However, the Forestry Commission is to survey an extended area around the original site in March with tree spraying set to commence in April.

It's not just plants which are affected by the caterpillar however, with OPM hairs found to contain a toxic which can cause skin rashes as well as other irritations. Oak trees can also be damaged by the caterpillar.

West Berkshire councillor Pamela Bale told the BBC that a reduced cost had been negotiated for local residents of the area and said: "The objective is to eradicate it completely."

The moths were believed to be brought into the UK on trees imported from Europe for a landscape project.

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