Oak Processionary Caterpillar

The Oak Processionary Caterpillar has defeated the government’s effort to eradicate the growing number of nests of the oak caterpillar. This non-native pest is found in oak trees across a wide catchment area of West London.

These caterpillars are harmful to trees and can even cause painful allergic reactions in humans.

The government are now trying a method known as a ‘buffing zone’ where the forestry commission will try to limit the pests to the Five London Boroughs they’re currently established in.

The Oak Processionary moth arrived in England about five years ago. They strip the foliage from a wide range of oak species by moving in long nose-to-tail lines. Their tiny hairs are a severe irritant that can cause painful rashes and asthma in anyone who may be in contact with them.

During 2009 these Caterpillars infested Richmond Park and Royal Botanic Gardens where more than 500 trees were attacked and over 800 nests were destroyed. Treatments include spraying the affected trees in early May to kill young caterpillars before they develop their toxic hairs.

Infestations of any kind can cause great damage to the affected plant. Being aware of different species can help a great deal in knowing what to look for and how to deal with insects like the Oak Caterpillars. If you would like any more information on Oak Caterpillars or on any other gardening issues you have then please contact us.