Brown tail moth and caterpillars Dorset
Brown tail moths
Brown tail moth and its Caterpillars are a native insect to the UK and are found mostly in Southern England but can also be found further north in some coastal regions.
The Brown tail moth is a small white moth with a hairy brown abdomen that gives it, its name. The moth itself is harmless and can normally be seen on the wing in July and August. The moth lays its eggs in batches of 150 – 250 on the foliage of shrubs and trees. With the Caterpillars hatching out approximately 3 weeks later.
Brown Tail Moth Caterpillars
DO NOT GET TOO CLOSE TO THIS CATERPILLAR. ITS HAIRS CAN CAUSE SKIN AND EYE IRRITATION AND BREATHING DIFFICULTIES. IF SKIN IRRITATION CONTINUES OVER A FEW HOURS OR BREATHING PROBLEMS OCCUR SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION. THE CATERPILLARS CAN STILL CAUSE IRRITATION AFTER THEY HAVE DIED.
The caterpillars of the brown tailed moth are dark in colour, with a dotted white line going down each side of its back and two distinctive red dots on the 2nd and 3rd to last body segments.
The caterpillars that emerge at the end of the season will not cause as much damage to plants and may not be as easily seen. They will spin themselves a silk cocoon to hide in over winter. They become more obvious when all the leaves begin to fall in the autumn and the silk cocoons remain in the trees and shrubs with leaves stuck to them.
In the spring, usually around April, the caterpillars emerge from their overwinter nests, they stay in groups and can create extensive webbing across trees and shrubs, and will eat large quantities of the foliage.
Brown Tail Moth and Caterpillar Control
Brown tail moth caterpillars are best treated in the spring and summer, while they are feeding on the foliage and not hidden within their cocoons. It may require multiple treatments on an annual treatment plan to fully control these moths. Late summer treatments can be conducted but may not eradicate the problem. Insecticides or Organic treatments are available to treat Brown tail moth caterpillars.
Box Tree Moth and Caterpillar
The Box tree Moth and its Caterpillar are a non-native species originating from East Asia. They are found mostly in the south of the UK and in particular, around London and the home-counties, in recent years they have started to spread to other parts of the UK and are now becoming well established in the Dorset area.
Box Tree Moth
The box tree moth is a small brown and white moth and can be seen on the wing between July and September. Each adult moth will lay approximately twenty eggs on the leaves of a Box (Buxus sp.) plant.
Box Tree Moth Caterpillar
The young box tree moth caterpillars are green with faint brown lines with a black head. As the caterpillar matures it will become a lighter green with a more defined pattern on its back a set of double brackets (( on each side of a segment and small ‘eyes’ on each alternating segment. The Box tree moth caterpillars will form large tents made of web-like silk over box plants and will consume the foliage within, often stripping entire plants bare if left untreated.
Treating box tree moth caterpillars
Box tree moth caterpillars can be treated with an organic pesticide during the spring and summer. Pheromone traps can also be placed near box plants or hedges to reduce moth numbers and help to protect from future infestations. Insecticides or Organic treatments are available to treat box tree moths.
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