As you travel the country roads and lanes of mid-Dorset, the chalk landscapes, in early summer you may frequently find amazing extensive white webbing along the hedgerows. In some years there can be masses of these webs, in others hardly any. They are the work of the spindle ermine moth (Yponomeula cagnatella) and is home to its larvae.
This is an abundant moth all across Europe and especially so here in Dorset where the soil is calcareous and where spindle commonly grows in the hedgerows . The adult moths fly in June and July and the resulting larvae live gregariously on the leaves of spindle, stripping it completely of foliage. They pupate in large numbers and over winter as pupae in the foot of the tree.
The adult moths can be seen by day in chalk grassland habitats.