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WORK STARTING: Moth infestation under surveillance in Hertsmere

 Published on: 29th January 2021   |   By: Jason Allen   |   Category: Uncategorized

To ensure parks and open spaces remain a haven for residents in Hertsmere, work is starting to tackle moth pests across the borough.

The Forestry Commission is undertaking surveillance of some of Hertsmere’s Oak trees between February and March to investigate outlying Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) reports from members of the public.

The contractors will be wearing hi-vis Forestry Commission vests and will carry a Plant Health Authority Card at all times when surveying. Trees identified as having an OPM infestation will be sprayed with an orange ring.

Councillor Seamus Quilty, portfolio holder for environment, said: “Since the Oak Processionary Moth was first sighted in Hertsmere, our officers have surveyed a large percentage of our Oak trees to determine the level of infestation and ensure the safety of park users.

“We are working with the Forestry Commission to tackle the OPM problem and implement proactive solutions to try to control and limit the spread in Hertsmere. The surveillance being conducted by the Forestry Commission is one part of that.”

The Oak Processionary Moth caterpillar and their nest can cause itchy rashes, eye irritations and, in severe cases, breathing difficulties in people and pets.

The moth was first reported in three council owned sites across the borough in May 2020. Since then we have surveyed over 1,350 Oak trees across Hertsmere’s parks and open spaces and identified 48 trees across 16 council sites as having Oak Processionary Moth nests.

Cllr Quilty added: “We installed signs in parks where the Oak Processionary Moth had been identified to warn park users to be vigilant. Our advice remains ‘spot it, avoid it, report it’.”

If you see any Oak Processionary nests or caterpillars in a council park you should report them immediately on 020 8207 2277 or email customer.services@hertsmere.gov.uk

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