It could be Halloween, with reports of ‘ghostly silken webbing’ that ‘can look rather sinister’ and give trees ‘an eerie appearance’. As well as covering parts of trees and hedgerows, apparently the webs are sometimes ‘so extensive that they can cover nearby objects such as benches, bicycles and gravestones’.
But this is June and in my local woodland, the one I showed you in yesterday’s post, the webs, though plentiful, are nowhere near that dramatic. These are the communal dwellings of moth larvae and, though there are several species of ermine moths, as the caterpillar-filled webs I’ve been seeing have all been on Spindle, I think I’m safe in assuming these are the larvae of Spindle ermine (Yponomeuta cagnagella).
Although these are the first webs I’ve seen, the Butterfly Conservation website reports that Spindle ermine is a common resident, though it is less common in northern parts of Britain. Look for Spindle trees and you might well see these webs for yourself.