The Oak Processionary Moth (OPM or Thaumetopoea processionea) is becoming an increasing issue in the capital. Since their accidental introduction to Great Britain from mainland Europe in around 2006, they now have a well established population.
Not only do they decimate our native oak trees by stripping foliage, but they are extremely toxic to humans and animals. The (utricating) hairs that surround the caterpillar have a particularly potent effect on the skin and respiritory function, in some cases causing a serious rash and breathing problems.
The adult moth is brown with a wingspan of approximately 25-30mm and emerge from pupae in late summer. Mating ensues and eggs are laid high in the canopy to hatch in spring. Once they have grown into caterpillars, they can easily be identified by the long white hairs and nose to tail movement they are named after. Nests look akin to a spider's web, with the caterpillars only leaving to feed in convoy at dawn and dusk.
Removing the nests is a very specialised skill as biohazard protective clothing must be worn and the nests incinerated appropriately. Clear Cut Trees can provide this service on request.
Please contact us to arrange a visit if you suspect you have an infestation