The caterpillars marching from oak and pine are officially classified as harmful to human health

These stinging insects that breed in pine and oak trees are dangerous to humans, but also to animals. A decree was issued on April 25, adding them to the list of species whose spread is harmful to human health.

You must have seen them: caterpillars moving over or under trees in a row …

With global warming, they made the country their own land and with spring, caterpillars procession pine – Thaumetopoea pityocampa And the oak procession of garlictopoia They came out again.

On the Mediterranean coast, They are now buried For a new cycle, cocoons, then butterflies by July.

Since April 25, larvae have been (finally) considered Harmful animals to health. A decree has been published in the Official Gazette, and therefore the marching caterpillars will be included in the Public Health Act.

The caterpillar does not really affect the health of the plant, it weakens the tree but does not kill it. The problem is when the infection rate is high in places that welcome the public, parks, schools, hospitals…

Lucille Arno, FREDON PACA Pest Control Coordinator for Gardens and Lands

Another decree was issued on the same day He appoints the FREDON-FRANCE network of experts – which oversees the Observatory of endangered species for human health – to coordinate measures for the prevention and control of these insects.

Thus it is this network of organizations providing health services – there is one for each district – that will coordinate actions according to provincial ordinances taken locally.

Here’s the butterfly – Thaumetopoea pityocampa that lays its eggs in August will give rise to a caterpillar. There will be a total of 8 stages in this annual cycle.

Part of the struggle takes place against this butterfly.

It is for every period. There are years when there are a lot of caterpillars marching, and some are less. In PACA, the infection rate is high, but lower than in other areas, it is a fight on all fronts.

Some municipalities have opted for pheromone injections, during the period when butterflies lay eggs.

In Saint-Laurent-du-Var or Hyères, for example, the chosen option consists of releasing a mixture of sexual pheromones, water, and wax to prevent the butterflies from breeding. Organic, nothing but organic, with the idea of ​​saturating the atmosphere around the trees.

Cagnes-sur-Mer, for its part, decided to catch the caterpillars as they came down from the trees with sacks, ecological traps that kept them.

Municipalities or other individuals have placed nest boxes for tits, cuckoos or bats, and these animals devour without moderation these caterpillars, cocoons or butterflies.

For Lucille Arnaud, Elimination of procession caterpillars is a combination of all of these actions that must be carried out at the right time of year, and every year!

The hair of the caterpillar is especially stinging to the touch. Allergies, rashes, conjunctivitis, respiratory disorders and the effects can be dangerous to health.

some advices :

  • Avoid frequenting areas near infested pine trees, and wear protective clothing if you go to these areas despite everything.
  • Avoid contact with larvae and nests.
  • No sweeping procession of caterpillars would create a cloud of stinging hairs.
  • There is no sink outside near the pine trees in high winds.

In case of contact with stinging bristles that stick to hair and clothing, the following are recommended:

  • Lukewarm shower with carefully shampooing.
  • Wash contaminated clothing above 60°C.

For animals, see a vet as soon as possible.

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