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Brown Tail Moth

Euproctis chrysorrhoea

Brown Tail Moth, Brown-Tailed moth

A close up of the brown tailed moth Euproctis chrysorrhoea on the ground

Euproctis chrysorrhoea 1

by Donald Hobern. CC BY 2.0

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Brown Tail Moths, Euproctis chrysorrhoea, is native to Britain. They're white fluffy moths when adults. The larvae striking, covered in long hairs and irritable to touch. The caterpillars spin layers of webbing, feeding in groups while protected. They spend most of the winter and spring in the webbing and form cocoons the following summer. Adults lay eggs during July and August. These are in-flight from July to August and can be attracted by light.
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Heavy infestations impact the growth of trees and shrubs.
Food for bats, toads and birds.


Adults: Mature moths are pure white, with white fluffy legs and heads, with wingspans reaching 3.5- 4cm. Larvae: Small, black caterpillars with long protruding brown hairs. They can be distinguished from the two bright red spots near the head. Eggs: The eggs are covered in small brown hairs and are laid on the host plant.


Thick white webbing in the branches of host plants. Plants can withstand damage in most cases.











Europe, North America, Asia and North Africa

Biological treatment

Brown tail moth caterpillars should only be handled when suitable protection is in place. The caterpillar hairs will irritate the skin. Infestations are generally never detrimental to the host plant. Spotting caterpillar webs is easiest during fall when trees have shed their leaves. From then on, it can be possible to prune out the affected branches. Rubber gloves or other protection should always be worn when doing the above. Organic pesticides can be useful but may need to be sprayed more regularly to penetrate the silk webs of this caterpillar.

Chemical treatment

Can apply an insecticide when caterpillars are seen, however more forceful spraying may be required to penetrate the webbing. More persistent chemicals can be effective on this caterpillar, particularly those containing synthetic pyrethroids. Please consult with your local garden centre and read bottle labels carefully before application. If plants are intended for culinary purposes, please read the label bottles carefully to see whether the product is appropriate.


Common Pear

Pyrus communis

Braeburn Apple

Malus domestica 'Braeburn'


Quercus spp.

A Prunus spinosa plant with green leaves and black purple berry fruits


Prunus spinosa


Crataegus spp.

A close up of some ripe and unripe blackberry fruits on a Rubus fruticosus plant


Rubus fruticosus

A close up of some pink Prunus flowers


Prunus spp.


Acer spp.

A red rose on a Rosa plant


Rosa spp.

European Plum

Prunus domestica

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