Thursday, 20 January 2011
Just up the road from me is a garden that has a lot of pine trees,I took these photographs, these nests are the nest of processionary caterpillars. These small caterpillars usually around 3 - 4 cm long are covered with as many as 63,000 pointed defensive hairs containing a toxin, these hairs break off and can become airborne. Contact with the caterpillar's hair can cause a severe allergic reaction in both people and pets, if breathed in it can trigger breathing difficulties and irritation to the eyes, mouth and throat. Some dogs are attracted to the caterpillars sniffing or eating them can cause a severe reaction in a dogs mouth and tongue, this can cause part if not all of the tongue to die.
If you discover the caterpillar nests in your garden or land it is very important not to try to remove them yourself even if the nests are empty,to remove the nests you need one of those paper suits that cover you from head to foot and at least a mask and goggles but preferably a complete hood with a filter for air, remove the nest from the tree and burn it, later burning the suit its self, caterpillars that are on the ground can be picked up with a shovel and put on a fire, again you need to be wearing at least a mask to do this job to be safe seek the advice of a professional or ask your local mairie. Do not let children or pets play near the nests and warn children not to handle the caterpillars.