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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 May 2007, 10:25 GMT 11:25 UK
Fear over poisonous caterpillars
Brown Tailed Moth larvae
The caterpillars can cause rashes and breathing problems
People have been warned to avoid a poisonous caterpillar which has had a breeding boom in North East Lincolnshire.

Council officials said they have had reports of people suffering asthmatic reactions and conjunctivitis after handling the Brown Tailed Moth larvae.

They said last month's warm weather has encouraged the creature, found in the area's parks and beaches, to breed.

The inch-long caterpillar has long brown hairs and red spots on its back.

Breathing difficulties

The caterpillars have poisonous barbs which can cause rashes, skin irritation, headaches, breathing difficulties and sickness to humans, and are also known for stripping trees and shrubs of foliage.

A spokesman for North East Lincolnshire Council urged people not to touch the creatures.

He said that anyone who came into contact with one of the caterpillars should wash their hands in soapy water and clear their eyes using an eyewash.

The caterpillars are expected to be seen until the end of May, when they will spend four weeks cocooned before they turn into moths.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Poisonous caterpillar causing trouble in Lincolnshire



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