The Daily Telegraph
Caterpillar army spins ghostly veil
ARMIES of caterpillars have invaded fields near York, covering hedgerows in ghostly, silken webs.
The shrubs, along the A661 between Harrogate and Spofforth, have turned white yard by yard as the insects have coated them in webbing.
Naturalists say the tens of thousands of caterpillars devouring the leaves are those of ermine moths.
Dr Callum Macgregor, of Butterfly Conservation Yorkshire, said: “The caterpillars of this species feed in very large groups, and as they move around the plant eating its leaves, they each produce a trail of silk.
“Collectively, this creates a large silken web, which offers the caterpillars a layer of protection against birds.
The caterpillars will feed for a few weeks and then pupate, after which the web will break down and disappear.
“By late summer it will be gone, and the plant will be able to make a full recovery,” Dr Macgregor said.