Caterpillar plague for housing tenants


A housing association tenant says she is being plagued by caterpillars.

Andrea Radford, who lives at Northfields in Biggleswade, said: “We are getting quite frustrated. For the last couple of years, this year being worst of all, we’ve been having trouble with caterpillars from the brown tail moth. This year is an absolute nightmare.

“They are hairy and they can cause reactions.”

They are breeding in the development’s communal trees, she said.

Northfields is run by Aragon Housing Association and the association has been out to try and resolve the situation after several tenants raised the issue.

Andrea said: “The trees are pretty much dead now with all the caterpillars. I had to use a stick to get them off my porch.

“They are everywhere – there are millions. Nearly every leaf is covered in caterpillars.

“My neighbour’s two-year-old son has a rash all over from them and another neighbour has a rash all over her back.

“Things have been done about caterpillars in other areas. I contacted Aragon in March and they said they would send somebody out; they did but they didn’t do anything. We’ve just about had enough; all of the residents.”

Residents could not even have their windows open, Andrea added, because the caterpillars were crawling up the frames and they dropped down on to the children.

The branches need to be cut down and incinerated to avoid the problem returning in the future, she said.

Bob Hopkins, assistant director for property at Aragon Housing Association, said: “We first heard about the caterpillar issue in Northfields at the end of March.

“We sent one of our gardening teams out to trim the tree and remove any nests they could see.

“They then disposed of the nests as is recommended by the local authority.

“On Thursday, May 15 we were contacted by another customer to say that the caterpillars had returned.

“Our contractors visited the site the following morning and we have now removed any trees from the site that have been affected.

“As well as this we have used pesticide on the surrounding area.

“As a general rule we try not to use pesticide but on this occasion because of the severity of the infestation we made an exception.”

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