Toxic caterpillars that can cause asthma and hives will be destroyed throughout spring.

Oak Processionary Moth - named for the tree where they live and habit of following one another tip-to-top - are an invasive species.

The moth is a risk to the health of oak trees, people and animals. The tiny hairs from the pests can cause nasty rashes, conjunctivitis type symptoms and breathing difficulties for anyone who comes into contact.

It feeds on the leaves of oak trees and creates nests in branches and tree trunks.

Oak Trees from across Richmond are being examined sprayed in an effort to destroy the moths’ larvae.

Craig Ruddick, Arboriculture Manager said: “Whilst we know our parks and open spaces draw in visitors great and small some are less welcome than others.

"Our specialist contractors are busy treating the recently hatched Oak Processionary Moth caterpillars and we ask residents to be cautious when they see these creatures in their own gardens as they are a danger to your health.”