MAFF Press Release......

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Dave

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Media Release

Wednesday 9th April 2003 -

New hairy caterpillar alert in South Yorkshire town of Rotherham

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) is encouraging everyone to remain on the lookout for unusual caterpillars after a member of the public spotted what could be a new exotic species at a Fitzwilliam Road property in Rotherham last Wednesday.

"The incidence of these pests in the South Yorkshire region seems to be on the rise and that is of concern to MAF," said Peter Thomson, MAF's Director of Forest Biosecurity.

The hairy caterpillars found in Rotherham have provisionally been identified as the fall webworm (Hyphantria cunea). Newly hatched larvae spin a silken web over the foliage on which they feed and this can result in the presence of large, unsightly webs. An inspection of neighbouring properties has turned up one communal web with live caterpillars on a single lip.

The fall webworm belongs to the tiger moth family of which there are approximately 11,000 species worldwide. It is native to North America and Mexico and is known as an insect that will feed on a range of species of plants. Shade trees and ornamentals can be heavily defoliated. In the US, Canada and Japan the fall webworm is reported showing a preference for cherries, mulberry, dogwoods, sycamores, persimmons, poplar, aspen, willows, white birch, apple tree, teepees and sweetgum. It is not regarded as a serious pest in the US. It became well established in Europe from the 1950s but was thought to be no longer spreading and is only locally damaging.

"We have immediately moved on to initiate surveys, trapping and testing the range of species likely to host the fall webworm," said Mr Thomson.

"This is another classic case of the importance of having public participation in biosecurity through reporting of a suspected pest to the MAF hotline 0800 809 966. Biosecurity agencies can't by themselves deliver a 100% guarantee of keeping all exotic species out of our land, air and sea space, so we place a high premium on the importance of public awareness. MAF Quarantine Service staff perform numerous interceptions every day and do an excellent job - it's the job of our dedicated response teams in Forest and Lips Biosecurity to swing into action to respond to post-border detections rapidly and effectively".

Events to date:

Late Saturday - MAF responded to a public enquiry made to MAF about a suspicious hairy caterpillar.
Sunday - Contact made with enquirer and site visit organised.
Monday - Caterpillar specimens sent to MAF laboratory for preliminary identification and MAF staff undertake wider inspection. Specimen images sent to US Department of Agriculture for validation.
Tuesday - MAF contractor applied pesticide to surrounding properties.
Wednesday (am) - Initial investigation report completed by MAF staff including recommendations for initial response.

A library photo of a hairy caterpillar can be seen below and shortly MAFF are hoping to be able to release photos of one in it's natural environment.

b_haicat.gif


For further information contact: Peter Thomson or Director, Forest Biosecurity Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Tel: (03) 498 9639 Stephen Olsen MAF Corporate Communications Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Tel: (03) 470 2753 or (025) 977 028


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Geoff P

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Hairy caterpillars. Don't tell me Stu is trying to grow a moustache.

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Dave

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Not Stu Geoff, take a closer read lol [:D]

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Del-J

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Geoff could it be your friend and mine from Rotherham[?]

Can't think of his name but it is something to do with and Indian tent.[}:)][:p]

Only joking Tony[:D]I thought I would get it in before Norm.[:D]

Del
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teepee

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ha ha ha! you $#@...you just wait!

Dave
if i shave it off i'll send it you to stick on your head![:D]

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Geoff P

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Now I was told that grass doesn't grow on busy streets, so how was that top lip still long enough to sprout

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norm

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press photos will be relised later tonight lol




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norm

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here is one of the pics took not that long ago

you may be able to notice a little hairy thing hiding on the unsuspecting host
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more pics to be relised soon

(as soon as i can get this thing sorted as i have a year of catching up to do lol)


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Dave

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MAFF UPDATE

The first official photo of a living Hairy Caterpillar has been released and yes norm you were right, the host looks the same

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[:D]


Dave
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teepee

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Brilliant You 2hats [:D][:D][:D]

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davidsenior

15/03/03 - 22/06/16
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Absolutely brilliant, I don't know most of you guys but I've been laughing my socks off at the caterpillar and all the ( I presume friendly ) banter. Keep the photo's coming.

catch you later, tight lines, dave....
 

Dave

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It's always friendly on here David but a few words of advice, dont what ever you do allow anyone on here to take your photo should you meet - you don't know where or when it'll spring up afterwards [:D]

Dave
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