Sunday, 9 June 2013

Pangbourne sprays to kill oak processionary caterpillar 'dangerous'

By Linda Serck,BBC News, South

Wildlife in a Berkshire woodland was endangered by a "sledgehammer-to-crack-a-nut" approach to killing a toxic caterpillar, experts have said.

Birds, bats and rare insects were affected by Forestry Commission aerial sprays to kill a moth larvae, Butterfly Conservation and Buglife claimed.

It was unclear if oak processionary caterpillar larvae were even present in the Pangbourne copses, they said.

The Forestry Commission said it had "strong reason to suspect" it was.

It was the first aerial spraying of its kind in the UK and was considered more effective than ground treatments as the caterpillars are attracted to leaves at the top of the trees, the Forestry Commission said.

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