Feeds

Toxic caterpillars invade London

Oaks attacked by wannabe procession moths

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Caterpillars of the oak procession moth are attempting to gain a foothold in London, the Telegraph reports.

As we recently reported, the Belgian army is battling a horde of the Thaumetopoea processionea caterpillars in the country's eastern province of Limburg.

The species has spread in recent years from its origins in central and southern Europe due to climate change, and last year appeared on several oak trees in West London, including in Kew's Royal Botanic Gardens. It's suspected they entered the country on imported trees.

The procession moth caterpillar, so called for its habit of advancing in column, deploys toxic hairs which can cause "severe skin irritation, breathing difficulties, and even anaphylactic shock". It can also completely defoliate trees, so Kew has moved quickly to contain the threat.

A spokesman explained: "About 30-35 oak trees had been affected and we have been exterminating the caterpillars as fast as they emerge but I am afraid this is not a problem that is going to disappear quickly. Our oaks have resisted many other diseases and we hope they are strong enough to resist this."

In Belgium, the army is tackling the irritating insects by burning the little blighters with "super-size blowtorches". UK operatives' method on dispatching them to the hereafter is not noted, but they have wisely donned protective clothing for their caterpillar-busting work.

The oak procession moth is, once established, extremely difficult to eradicate. Christine Tilbury, of the Forestry Commission's agency, Forest Research, admitted: "We are obviously concerned about it. The caterpillars stimulate a severe allergenic reaction in susceptible people. Where it has occurred on the Continent it has caused a severe skin rash and respiratory tract irritation. We would advise anyone in contact with it to get immediate medical advice."

Tilbury concluded by conceding that measures to contain or eliminate the oak procession moth might prove fruitless. She offered: "It could fly in or come in as eggs on plants. I do not know how you keep it out." ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Asteroid's SHOCK DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck - boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.