PROCESSIONAL CATERPILLARS

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PROCESSIONAL CATERPILLARS

Postby perrito » Sat Feb 02, 2008 5:39 pm

Caterpillars (Processional Pine Caterpillars)
Pine Caterpillars (Latin name thaumetopoea pityocampa) are probably one of the most unpleasant creatures you will find in Spain, certainly in areas where pine trees grow in abundance. They are found throughout the warmer regions of Southern Europe, the Near East and North Africa. As well as causing much damage to pine forests, they are a major danger to animals and, to a lesser degree, human beings.
Do not touch them. Warn your children that they are not like the friendly English caterpillars. The very fine hairs on these creatures are poisonous and most dangerous. They can be seen living in silk cocoon style nests hanging in the pine trees to which they are most harmful, stripping them of their pine needles. When hungry, they leave their cocoon to seek another uninfested tree on which to feed. They travel nose to tail in a line, hence the name Processional. They are most noticeable from January to mid April and are at their most dangerous in mid/late February. The caterpillars are often seen in the evenings, walking in procession from tree to tree.
If they drop onto you or your pet, don't brush them off with your hands because the effect is most unpleasant, causing great irritation, rash and pain. Dogs, cats and people can suffer from shock. The hairs of the caterpillars are still virulent even when the creatures are dead. Do not hit them with sticks because hairs flying in the air are just as dangerous. Burn them, but be careful of floating hairs. If the caterpillars are in the tree cocoon state, first spray the nest with hair spray (to seal down the hairs), cover the cocoon and the affected part of the branch with a plastic bag, cut down the branch, place it on clear ground and burn it.
If the caterpillars are on the ground marching, it is better first to spray them with lighter fuel and then set them alight. This reduces the risk of flying hairs.

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I took these photos earlier today, you can see the nest in the pine tree, this is quite a small nest.

PLEASE BE AWARE THESE CATERPILLARS CAN CAUSE A VERY AGONISING DEATH TO YOUR PETS, KEEP THEM WELL AWAY.
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Re: PROCESSIONAL CATERPILLARS

Postby abuela » Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:27 pm

Thanks for posting that Perrito, I had heard about these caterpillars, but never seen one. I'll have to keep an eye open when my grandson comes to visit, he's always prodding insects!
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Re: PROCESSIONAL CATERPILLARS

Postby sasha » Fri Feb 15, 2008 3:39 pm

We also have these nasty little critters in Portugal.
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Re: PROCESSIONAL CATERPILLARS

Postby perrito » Tue Feb 19, 2008 9:47 pm

would you like to take the Spanish ones too Sasha? You are very welcome to them. :lol: :lol:
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