On April 27, 2022, the Ministry of Health published a decree alerting to the danger of processionary caterpillars. Two species were targeted: pine and oak. These two species would be harmful to our health. But who are these caterpillars?
ANSES (National Food Safety Agency) reviews these two types of caterpillar. The pine processionary caterpillar therefore colonizes trees of the pine family. The second colonizes deciduous trees of the oak family. They move in single file and always live in groups. They weave nests of silks. At nightfall, they come out to eat the leaves of the trees. In the last stage as a larva, the pine caterpillar joins the trunk to burrow into the ground and take the form of a chrysalis. The oak one stays at tree level for this stage.
They are recognized by their orange-brown or silver-gray color. Their stinging hairs are their trademark. These are the ones that pose a danger to humans. Indeed, indirect or direct contact with their hair can cause allergic reactions in humans. Their hairs settle everywhere: on your clothes, garden furniture or even the terrace. They can cause hives. If it can be dangerous for humans, this caterpillar can be deadly for other species. Find out how to get rid of it in our slideshow below.
Asked at the microphone of BFMTV, Alice Samama, facilitator of the observatory of processionary caterpillars (FREDON France), specifies that it is necessary to “manage them” rather than to fight definitively. Indeed, the latter make it possible to feed the tits and therefore remain important as a link in the food chain. However, they can also be dangerous for our ecosystem.
Indeed, Alice Samama specifies that “they feed on the needles: small leaves of pines and cedars”. Over time, the tree eventually loses “strength and vigor” and can be affected by diseases. They are not the only ones affected by this phenomenon. Indeed, animals are too. Among them, dogs, horses or cattle are particularly sensitive to their proliferation. By approaching them, these animals can be touched at the level of the tongue and the nose. In the most serious cases, there may be necrosis resulting in the death of the animal.
So, how to fight against these invaders present in all French departments? Check out our slideshow below to find out.