Page last updated at 15:13 GMT, Thursday, 11 June 2009 16:13 UK

Caterpillars cover trees in silk

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Dr Ana Delgado from Maidstone council explains what the caterpillars are doing

Caterpillars that cover whole trees in cocoons of silk, like giant spider webs, have invaded a park in Kent.

The insects, called ermine moths, are feeding on leaves in Cobtree Manor Park, but the council has reassured residents the trees will re-leaf again.

Different ermine moths choose different food sources, and these ermine moths are feasting on bird-cherry trees, the council explained.

It said there had been an explosion in the caterpillar population in the park.

First the larvae eat the leaves, while they are underneath the cocoons, and then they change into moths, the council said.

The council said the trees would not be harmed, the insects would not cause any long-term damage, and the leaves would grow again.

Visitors to the park have seen an "abundance" of caterpillars beneath the silk webbing.



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