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Basildon family under siege from a plague of caterpillars
8:52pm Wednesday 30th May 2012 in Southend
A FAMILY say they are frightened to venture outside after their home was encircled by hordes of caterpillars.
The Athertons, of Clayburn Circle, Basildon, have seen hundreds of the creepy-crawlies spinning a sticky, silky web on a tree overhanging their garden.
The web has now started covering garden furniture and walls and the children are frightened to pick up their toys in case they get tangled in the web.
Ami Atherton, 30, said: “My 12-year-old son George came home from school the other day and was too scared to walk down the path because the caterpillars were crawling all over the place.
“We can’t leave the girls’ toys out in the garden because they get absolutely covered in the web, which is hard to wash away.
“It has even got to the stage now where our postman is refusing to deliver our mail. It was my daughter Ellie-Rose’s seventh birthday the other day, so I am sure she has missed out on some birthday cards.
“I have tried to get the council to remove them, but it doesn’t seem to be bothered, even though it is such a pain for us.”
Basildon Council said it was aware of problems being caused by caterpillars in parts of the borough.
A spokesman said: “We have recently been dealing with a number of reports of caterpillar nests, particularly in the west of the borough. Prun- ing out nests has already begun, which helps to solve the problem, and our arboriculture team will start using insecticide next week where necessary.
“We have received an enquiry regarding Clayburn Circle and the team will be dealing with this site within the next week.
“The species of caterpillar is not a health hazard and is not an irritant. However, we would urge residents to report any cases of caterpillars to us.”