Urgent health warning as Brits told to avoid 'serious problem' garden pest – know the signs to look out for | The Sun

BRITS have been warned not to approach a garden pest which has "become a serious problem" across the UK.

The insects have been identified as a hazard to humans and animals, prompting an advisory from The Forestry Commission.

Oak processionary moth caterpillars have caused a number of issues in recent months, and their presence has spiked across parts of south-east England – due to its vast woodland.

The pest feeds on oak tree leaves – disrupting growth and leaving the tree breed vulnerable to other pests, diseases and drought.

However, the species have become more feared for what they can do to us.

As a result, Brits have been urged not to touch the insects if they come into contact with them – and should seek a pharmacist immediately if they do.

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Those who do touch Oak processionary moth caterpillars could develop a nasty rash or experience breathing difficulties.

They might also get sore, itchy or irritated eyes and throat.

How to tell you have oak processionary moth caterpillars in your garden

Here's how to spot if these hazardous insects are hatched in your back garden:

Oak Processionary Moths have been present in the UK since 2012 with infestations found in London and parts of the South East in recent years.

Oak Processionary Moths can be identified by their dome or teardrop-shaped nests, which range in size from a ping pong ball to as large as a rucksack.

They are white when fresh, but soon become discoloured and brown.

The greatest risk period is May to July when the caterpillars emerge and feed before pupating into adult moths, so you're more likely to encounter them during those warmer months.

Officials say the greatest risk period for the tree pest is between June and August when the species feeds before turning into moths.

The pests are grey with blackheads and long white hairs.

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They have a distinctive dark stripe down their back and can grow up to 2cm in length.

It comes after an urgent warning was issued concerning a plague of poisonous dart-throwing insects are set to swarm the UK.

Elsewhere, a pest terminator has revealed the trick to banishing pesky flies, slugs and spiders from your home.

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