Islanders are being urged to stay clear of Oak Processionary Moth caterpillars, whose toxic hairs can cause allergic reactions and skin irritation, following reports of the insects near First Tower.
So far, the caterpillars have been found at St Andrew’s Park, a private garden, and a number of other locations in the area.
Caterpillars of the Oak Processionary Moth emerge between May and July to feed before turning into adult moths. At this time of year, the caterpillars collectively build nests covered in their toxic hairs which are shed into the oak tree, or blown in the wind, making the area hazardous.
Contact with the hairs can cause skin irritation, allergic reaction, intense itchiness, painful rashes, eye problems, sore throat and breathing difficulties.
Caroline Maffia, from Environment and Consumer Protection, said: ‘You can spot them in oak trees, where they are often clustered together. They have a grey body and dark head, and the older caterpillars have a central dark stripe with paler lines down each side.
‘The nests look like cream, brown or black fibrous webbing on the trunks, branches and forks of branches.’
‘Islanders should avoid handling them, standing downwind of them, or too close to infested trees. The hairs can cause a number of health concerns, and if you’re worried about a rash or other reaction then please contact your GP.
‘Pets may also be affected, so please keep dogs away.’
The Government’s Infrastructure, Housing and Environment team are working to remove as many of the nests as possible.
Islanders can report sightings to firstname.lastname@example.org detailing the date, time and location.
Further details of the caterpillars, how to identify them, and their potential risk to human health can be found online on gov.je