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Why are bushes in Norfolk being covered in creepy webbing?

PUBLISHED: 08:23 23 May 2019 | UPDATED: 10:23 23 May 2019

Caterpillars have been changing the face of Norfolk's hedgerows. Picture: Stephen Valach

Caterpillars have been changing the face of Norfolk's hedgerows. Picture: Stephen Valach

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Residents have been left dazzled by mysterious webs that have appeared across South West Norfolk in hedgerows.

Caterpillars have been changing the face of Norfolk's hedgerows. Picture: Stephen ValachCaterpillars have been changing the face of Norfolk's hedgerows. Picture: Stephen Valach

Areas of the Abbey Estate in Thetford and country lanes in Mildenhall, Suffolk, have become covered by the creepy silver webs seemingly overnight.

It has raised questions as to what animal caused it and if it is dangerous.

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Ideas suggested include a vast number of spiders breeding or a new insect not native to Norfolk.

Caterpillars have been changing the face of Norfolk's hedgerows. Picture: Stephen ValachCaterpillars have been changing the face of Norfolk's hedgerows. Picture: Stephen Valach

But the answer lies with the simple moth. The webs are caused by the Ermine Month's larvae that take the form of small caterpillars.

The larvae spend the winter in the bark and foliage of bushes before waking up in spring to spin their cocoon-like web to protect themselves as they pupate, and then munch their way through foliage.

Once they are full, they pupate in June or July and live as moths for just two months.

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