Villagers baffled by spectacular moth invasion

VISITORS to a Suffolk village could be forgiven for believing they had stepped into a horror film set or the web of a massive spider.

But the spectacular shock of wispy white drapery covering a string of bushes near Boxted, between Sudbury and Bury St Edmunds, is neither arachnidan nor man-made.

The silk-like strands have been created by tens of thousands of web-weaving moth caterpillars which have taken over a stretch of roadside verge on the B1066.

The thin veil covers a number of bushes along the road and has drawn the attention of many nearby residents and passers-by.

Mystery surrounds the cause of the invasion, which was first noted by residents last week, as well as what the moth larvae will do next. It is thought the caterpillars are of the bird-cherry ermine moth.

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Nearby resident Rosie Roberts said: “Every time I drive past there’s always someone who has stopped to have a look. I’ve even seen police cars pull over to have a look.”

Yesterday, two of those to take a look were Tony and Pat Hughes, who live nearby.

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Mr Hughes said he was stunned when he first spotted the extraordinary scene a few days ago. He said he had been past the site on numerous occasions since but he thought the number of caterpillars had declined since he had last seen them.

Bird-cherry ermine moths are small day-flying moths that are white with black spots. They are found throughout Europe and their caterpillars can cause extensive damage to trees if left unhindered.

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