Page last updated at 10:53 GMT, Sunday, 16 May 2010 11:53 UK

Jersey schools staff hunt for toxic caterpillars

Caterpillars in a tree
The caterpillars form nose-to-tail processions on the oak trees

Staff at Jersey's schools are being trained to spot caterpillars that can cause severe rashes, to ensure children do not come into contact with them.

The island has had several infestations of the oak processionary moth.

Its caterpillars' hairs are toxic and can lead to painful rashes, eye and ear irritation and breathing difficulties.

Scott Meadows from the Environment Department said school caretakers and grounds staff were looking out for any nests that might be on school grounds.

Asthma attack

The oak processionary moth is named after its habit of forming nose-to-tail processions on trees.

It is a major defoliator of oak trees across Europe, feeding on leaves and producing silken nests on the trunk or branches of oak trees.

The adult caterpillars have about 60,000 barbed hair bristles containing a toxin which, if inhaled, can trigger an asthma attack or even anaphylaxis.

The first infestation in Jersey was discovered in 2007 at Five Oaks.

Several people needed hospital treatment last year because of moths' nests in two trees in People's Park. The trees were later felled.

Print Sponsor

Toxic caterpillar cordon remains
07 Aug 09 |  Jersey
Park moths threaten human health
02 Jul 09 |  Jersey
Warning over spring moth menace
10 Apr 08 |  London
Itching to get at you
20 Sep 07 |  Magazine

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific