LARGE webs are covering trees and bushes along the riverside in Worcester as an insect searches for its next meal.

A wide-scale phenomenon is happening across the county after ermine moths built large webs in trees and bushes to help their babies feed.

The webs hide hundreds or even thousands of caterpillars, which can be seen feeding in them, and also seeking protection from the covering.

Worcester News: Black insects can be seen in the webs.Black insects can be seen in the webs. (Image: Newsquests)The ermine moth has always been present in Worcestershire, but its numbers vary from year to year, which explains why, in some years, their vast webs are more visible.

The moths particularly like to choose locations in open, sunny, unshaded sites, often along roadsides. 

A spokesperson for Worcestershire Wildlife Trust said: "They’re relatively widespread across Worcestershire and the caterpillars can be seen feeding in large webs, like the ones in the photos, among leaves of grey and white willows.

"They spin webs for protection – the webbing itself provides an element of protection and feeding in groups also adds to this.

Worcester News: SPOTTED: The webs can be seen by many people who pass by them.SPOTTED: The webs can be seen by many people who pass by them. (Image: Newsquest)"The adult moths are quite small but striking – white wings patterned with black dots.

"The adults look very similar to other moths in this family, including the more common spindle ermine moth whose feeding webs (on spindle trees) can be seen in hedgerows across the county at the moment."

"They exist in all 10km2 blocks across Worcestershire (a method used for biological recording) but are more common in the neutral and calcareous grassland areas in the south and west of the county."

The moth's webs have been spotted in Worcester, particularly on the St John's side of the River Severn walk.

Some have also been spotted in Stoke Prior off Hanbury Road, leading many to question what the webs are for.

The spokesperson added, "If anyone comes across a spindle tree covered in spindle ermine moth webs, please take a photo and send it along with its location to the Worcestershire Biological Records Centre at"