Brown-tail moth caterpillar cull planned in Norfolk

Brown-tail moth caterpillar
Image caption Brown-tail moth caterpillars have hairs which can cause skin rashes and headaches.

Moth caterpillars which can make people ill are to be removed from a coast path, a council has said.

Hairs on the brown-tail moth caterpillars can break off as barbs, causing skin rashes, headaches, and, in extreme cases, breathing difficulties, said North Norfolk District Council.

The insects can be seen on foliage next to a well-used coast path from Cromer to Bacton.

The council has been advising people to avoid contact with the larvae.

Image caption Brown-tail moth larvae over-wintering in shrubs along the Norfolk coastal path

"In response to public concerns about the caterpillars, we will remove and destroy some of the caterpillars one afternoon or evening in the next few days," a spokesman said.

Only caterpillars closest to the footpaths will be affected.

The public are advised to wash their hands in soapy water and clean their eyes with eyewash and to seek medical advice if the symptoms are severe or persistent.

Image caption Warning notices have been put up where the caterpillars are to be found

The hairs on the brown and white caterpillar provide the moth with protection throughout its lifecycle.

In London last month residents were being warned about an outbreak of Oak processionary moths - the caterpillars can cause similar symptoms to the brown-tail moth caterpillar.

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