Signs of the presence of processionary caterpillars

Welcome to this guide dedicated to identifying the telltale signs of the presence of processionary caterpillars. These insects can pose significant problems in residential areas and natural environments due to their stinging hairs which are very dangerous to humans and animals. Understanding where and how to detect them is essential to manage their presence and minimize the associated risks.

THE pine processionary caterpillars are easy to identify thanks to several characteristic clues. Here are the main ones to watch out for:

Silky nests: These white, cottony structures are often the first visible indicator of the presence of caterpillars. They are usually found at the top of trees, especially pine trees, but also on other types of trees.

Caterpillar processions: This phenomenon is observed when the caterpillars descend in groups from their nest to feed or to bury themselves in the ground, where they will pupate. These processions are quite remarkable and often take place in a line, hence the name “processionaries”.

Stripped trees: Processionary caterpillars feed on pine needles, which can lead to notable dieback of infested trees. In cases of heavy infestation, a tree may be completely stripped of its needles, giving it a dry and dying appearance.

Allergic reactions and irritations: Increased presence of caterpillars can often manifest as irritation to the skin, eyes and respiratory tract in people and animals. These are reactions to the caterpillars’ stinging hairs, which are released into the air.

By identifying these signs early, you can take the necessary steps to manage the presence of these caterpillars and protect your environment. It is recommended to consult professionals for specific advice and safe removal of nests and caterpillars.