Feeds

Toxic caterpillars invade London

Oaks attacked by wannabe procession moths

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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." ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?
How artificial lighting could offer an artificial promise
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.