Families see sore as larvae plague play area

Families are boycotting a playground after an insect invasion stripped trees bare and left the scene resembling “something from a horror movie”.

Experts have claimed it is too early to say what will happen to the trees at the Bradford play area but visitors are turning away in their droves as thousands of caterpillars meander from tree to tree and around surrounding fences.

The larvae are leaving destructive sticky cobwebs while completely stripping normally luscious blossom trees of all their bark and leaves.

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Bradford Council’s pest control manager, Dennis Shipway, said: “We are going to let nature run its course because the ermine moth larvae is harmless. If we were to spray insecticide it could damage the environment more and pose a risk to residents.

“The recent prolonged period of warm weather created ideal temperatures for the larvae to grow, which explains why there is so much of it.

“The trees have been stripped of their leaves and bark, but it is too early to say what will happen to them.”

Abdul Rehman, 58, whose family live near the park in Frizinghall, is steering clear of the play area.

The 58-year-old driving instructor said: “It’s a fright to look at. It’s been invaded by these creatures – they are disgusting and are everywhere. They’ve stripped the trees bare. Giant cobwebs are all over the place – it’s like something out of a horror film. It’s disgusting.

“I won’t go anywhere near it now and I’ve told others to stay away. It’s making people feel sick just seeing it.”

Chris Scarth, 28, who has a young family, added: “I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s been going on for over a week now.

“They seem to be moving from tree to tree as if they want to take over. They are all over the railings next to the park, which has been deserted since these creatures got there. It’s like an end-of-the-world film scene.”