THE PLAGUE of Pavilion Road has returned – in the form of thousands of hairy caterpillars which have made the road their home for the second year in a row.
The army of brown-tailed moth caterpillars arrived when the weather started to warm up, leaving some residents trapped inside their homes once again.
Last summer, Pavilion Road residents suffered itchy rashes and headaches for weeks when the caterpillars invaded the same land along the railway line that backs onto their gardens.
One of the residents, Amanda Wareing, said the caterpillars are wreaking havoc again this year.
“Last year was horrendous, it’s clear this year is going to be just as bad,” she said. “I really don’t think Network Rail have done much to address the problem – they promised they would be out spraying pesticides but so far, I’ve seen no evidence of this.”
Amanda and her oldest son have both developed a rash despite avoiding their garden and keeping their windows closed.
A spokesperson for Network Rail, which manages land either side of the rail track, said: “We have employed a specialist contractor to take steps to resolve the issue as a high priority. The first steps were to carry out a site assessment and some targeted spraying of pesticide which was done on Friday. We will continue to monitor the situation and take further action as appropriate.”
Jess Price from the Sussex Wildlife Trust, said: “While we understand the frustrations of these residents, brown-tailed moth caterpillars are only active for a few weeks usually – once they turn to moths the problems will disappear.
“We do not support destroying of habits through the clearing of vegetation or pesticides – the effect on other wildlife would be devastating.”
l Two people had to be taken to hospital in Chichester this week after they suffered a severe reaction to the same type of caterpillar.