The oak processionary (Thaumetopoea processionea) is a moth whose caterpillars can be found in oak forests, where they feed on oak leaves, causing significant damage.They travel in nose-to-tail processions (hence their name), often arrow-headed, with a leader followed by rows of several caterpillars abreast. They will send men out to deal with the nest, free of charge in most cases. The caterpillars - measuring 2-3cm (about one inch) - march in long processions to the treetops at night, and can wreak havoc in oak trees, as they feast on the young leaves. N-IIa, Km. The most curious can die in an attempt to see what these funny-looking creatures taste like. In Louvain, Belgium, firefighters had to destroy nests of the invasive species before a rock concert. "The oak processionary infestation this year is very intensive - much more than last year," said the park's manager Frank Dartsch. It is also possible to use an insecticide spray directly on the nest itself but again some may be missed, cocooned as the are in their protective nest. They are called pine processionary caterpillars and it's likely you've seen them at some point walking in a long line across the floor of a pine forest. At the beginning of spring, the rising temperatures trigger the burying instinct. The caterpillars turn into pupae, then moths in late July, and the threat diminishes. The Canillas veterinary clinic in Madrid has reported a rise in the number of cases this year. There is no miracle to combat this phobia quickly, easily and fully effectively, but there are some things we can do to help them get through this moment with minimum suffering. Left untreated, the caterpillars will eventually mature enough to leave the nest where they are instantly recognisable by the way they travel. The Luxembourg City authorities have issued a health warning, as the caterpillars are in the city too. IzzyM (author) from UK on February 14, 2011: Ah this is true. This natural spectacle not only catches the eye of humans but also of dogs. This natural spectacle not only catches the eye of humans but also of dogs. The caterpillars are also infesting the densely wooded French island of Corsica. Fears grow for British man detained in Pakistan. Few birds, apart from cuckoos and orioles, will touch them. .css-14iz86j-BoldText{font-weight:bold;}Germany and the Netherlands are battling many infestations of oak processionary caterpillars, whose tiny toxic hairs can trigger allergic reactions and skin irritation. Is Cummings departure a blessing or an error? It was the second year of a three-year cycle, they explained, and last year was way worse. Depending on susceptibility, humans can find themselves anywhere between mildly to severely affected. One always attaches itself it the rear and of the one in front so that they form a procession, though no I don't know why the one in front knows he has the lead and isn't attached to anyone. If you're walking in the countryside far from any vet clinic, specialists can prescribe a medicine in pill form or in an injection that some owners carry with them in case of an accident, especially if they have the type of dog that eats everything they find. 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In young pine trees that have not yet gained great height, they are easy enough to deal with. 1,5 - Pol. The caterpillar causes various injuries to dogs. The anti-inflammatory cortisone can provide relief. If you live in southern Europe, at certain times of the year, usually starting December/ January, you will notice what seems to be a silky white nest of what could be cotton wool high up in a pine tree. At this point you need to get to a vet as soon as possible. […], Al utilizar nuestros servicios aceptas el uso que hacemos de las cookies, Crta. The affects the whole ecology of a region, and while nature is very good at balancing things out again, repeated sprayings of an area does mean that year after year there is an imbalance with plagues of one type of insect dominating. The caterpillars are covered in poisonous hairs with a toxin that is devastating for dogs who put their noses near them. If you want to get of the nest of the pine processionary caterpillar, you want to burn them. Do these Republican voters accept election result? Special teams there and elsewhere have donned protective gear and used firefighters' lifts to reach the treetops, where they have attacked OPM nests with blowtorches or big vacuum cleaners. I assumed the readers to know the area is hot and arid and very prone to forest fires, so glad you pointed it out. Then again, I don't much like pine trees because they are home to the processionary caterpillar. The oak processionary moth pest is known as OPM for short. But despite their sluggish appearance, the creatures can really shift - turn your back for two minutes and more would appear. We live in the Vaucluse and this March have cut out and burnt three nests this year. The problem is how to get rid of a pine processionary caterpillar nest high up in a mature tree which of course can, depending on the variety, reach 80 metres in height. Vets recommend getting to a clinic as soon as you see the symptoms, although you can wash their mouth out first with abundant water to dilute the effect of the poisonous hairs. They are a similar species, but their habitat is Mediterranean pines, rather than oaks. Those hairs can easily kill a pet, especially if they get into the animal's throat where the swelling could affect their ability to breathe. The body of the caterpillar is colored green with yellow stripes and is covered with thin, whitish spines. Wear gloves and clothing which covers as much of your body as possible, and detach the nest from the tree - cutting the branch the nest is on if the nest looks like breaking up offering an escape route. Afterwards, change all your clothing to make sure no part of the nest attached itself.