Caterpillar silk webs

View of caterpillars in silk web on green hedge
Spindle Ermine Moth Larvae in web. Photo: John East

The annual caterpillar silk webs phenomenon

It’s the time of year when we get many emails expressing concern about the activities of web-spinning moth caterpillars that appear in spring in our hedgerows and trees.

This year we would like to collect records of these sightings with photos.

This will enable us to try and identify the species involved, to get an idea of their distributions and also their relative abundance.

The main worries are usually that the caterpillars are a danger to health and/or will destroy the hedges they are in – and this is often promoted through the media,  But what is less well-known is that there are many harmless species of moths, large and small, that create webs or tents to hide in and some of them are extremely rare. Our worry is that people tend to lump them all together and wage war on all web-spinning larvae.

For more information about some of fascinating species you may find please click here.

Will you help us record these tent-dwelling caterpillars?

Please send us your photos and details of where they were taken, including the six-figure OS Map reference and if possible, the plant the caterpillars were on; we hope later be able to produce a distribution map for as many species as we can.

Please send your records and photos to photos@dorsetbutterflies.com

We will publish some of the best photos on the Gallery page of the BC Dorset Branch website but please note that although we will keep your photos for possible future use, we will always acknowledge you as the photographer.

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