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Pine processionary time!!


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I make no appologies for posting this again.

I had a look around

our pine trees this morning and to my horror just 2 of them had 17 small

cocoons in them. The pine processoinary caterpillar that is. At the

moment they haven't developed enough to be dangerous as they are only in

their 1st or second stage of devepolment yet. They went on the fire


We have about 14 pines that they like and why just 2 were infested I have no idea?


anyone who doesn't know about them they are dangerous if touched when

they have developed the incredibly fragile hairs and can cause

anaphylactic shock and children are fascinated with the long processions

they form. They are also dangerous to animals, especially dogs if they

sniff around then or try to pick them up. If that happens and they are

nt got to a vet quickly there is a good possibility of them dying a very

nasty death.

There is some info on them here  http://web.cortland.edu/fitzgerald/pineprocessionary.html


no good just killing them, moving them or anything like that because if

they are just killed the hairs that are left behind are just as

dangerous and much less obvious. The only complete way of getting rid is

to burn them then the hairs are destroyed. I have been caught out by

them once when I was picking up a load of pine cones and suffered for a

couple of days with very uncomfortable itching on my arms and legs. Plus

my eyes were very sore. They can blind you. They also do a lot of

damage to the pines and why the French don't do anything about them is a

mistry, but then again they would probably just spray them and kill

everything else as well?
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We had them in a large pine tree which they eventually denuded almost completely so we had it cut down and burnt.

A neighbour had some in several of his pines - he cut off the affected branches and burnt them - the caterpillars don't seem to have returned this year.

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I have always managed to reach ours Norman. We have a Fiscars telescopic 4 metre branch lopper and if that doesn't reach I welded a couple of 'L' shaped metal bits to form an 'X' and with a couple of Jubalee clips I put our 4 metre pool pole on the end and there isn't much that won't reach, especailly if I get our triple ladder out too [8-|] I take great care, wear gloves, hat, etc and they go straight on the fire.

If you can catch them early no only are they less dangerous but they are also much lower in the trees. As they grow they work their way up the tree and the cocoons get bigger with up to 300 of the little sods in each!

Good links for anyone without the kit Norman, ta..

Don't forget that it's a jungle out there Pat. I they were there last year they will probably be back if there is anywhere for them. I hadn't seen the eggs this year but they were there!

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Great to bring this up but its certainly not a problem this time of year

Spring brings them down but with a harsh winter the chances will be the majority have died or have been eaten by birds (seemingly Blue Tits are immune )

The best way to control them is to make a water barrier on the trunk thereby drowning them it involves a bit of do it yourself but you need to wrap around the trunk wide guttering or an old split tyre obviously able to hold water and seated with cling film so they cannot get past in the bark fissures


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They may not be such a problem at this time of the year, but they are a dammed sight easier to cut down than in the spring when they are at the very top of trees. As I have said, they will come out to eat at night even when the temps are SUB ZERO. The only difference is that they are sluggish. The temp inside the cocoon is normally several degrees above the ambient and they will survive! Last year we have 2 weeks of sub zero temps, going down to -11 ad they survived and I had to cut several cocoons out of our trees. They do not die due to low temps!

In fact, it is a problem at this time of year because it is now that they start to do the damage to the trees.

I have never heard of your water barrier and would be very interested in seeing one. Do you have a diagramme or a link? I would also be interested how you get an old tyre over the top of a 10 meter tree or cut one and reseal it so that it holds water, hugs the not too round and lumpy trunk of a tree.

I maintain that the best way is to get them before they get too high either to get them or to make it bleedin dificult to do so! You probably have not been effected by them, I have and I want to make sure that the last time is the very last time. It hurts!

I had cut, I thought, all of the cocoons out of our trees last year and thought that it would be different this year? Well it is, and as I said earlier, I cut 17 small cocoons out of 2 of our trees this morning. I hate to think just what I missed, but I will be looking.

Something I forgot to mention. Also today I found an old cocoon that had fallen out of one of our trees. Not a problem? well, it has been home for about 300 of them, all shedding their hairs as they force their way in and out every day through the winter. Those hairs are still there and they are what cause the problem, so if you just  destroy the inhabitents and not what they live in what then? are you willing to just trap and kill them and not get rid of what may be a nasty lump for you to pick up later? Your choice me-thinks?

Edit :  - Bluetits/greattits? We get lots of them in the garden all through the winter. Costs a fortune in seed but it's worth it. So far I have never seen any of them even attempt to attact a cocoon and the caterpillars normally only come out at nights. as far as I am awaire one of the only birds that feed on them are hoopoes and they dig them out of the ground when they are pupating. This article is interesting, but read the comment at the end They can keep their nematode too

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I think you are going over the top The colony is set they do not move more than eating distance from where they were laid My trees are much higher than any man made reach Yes I have dogs And have lived with the moths 19 years and unlike you have not walked into any problems no I have no pictures funny we can build a sky scraper but not a water proof ring around a 34 foot high tree As for you killing them in your trees what about others out of your control

I wonder how man and dogs have survived so long with this terrible problem Never the less thanks for the heads up 6 months early but we live with them as best as we can

PS as for being a female glow worm are you saying you wish to be a girl with a glowing bum sad
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We will have to agree to disagree with the caterpillas and as for my signature, I am not so sure that it's me who is sad [;-)] I was under the impression that it was called humour?

I believe that I am not alone in my sense of humour

""We are all worms, but I do believe that I am a glow-worm." Winston Churchill. [blink]

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  • 2 weeks later...
That's very smart, but with a dozen or so trees, all bigger than the smallest of those traps it would cost a small fortune for us. Possibly OK if you just have one or two trees. Much cheaper to cut them out of the trees before they even think of coming down, long before the spring time and the dangers of them falling on anyone..

Our neighbour also gets them in her trees along her drive way and the year before last some dropped out while she was clearing pine needles off of her drive and a couple dropped down her back. It was NOT nice for her, so wait until spring if you wish, but any I see come out when I see them!!!

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