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Pine processionary caterpillers again


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When we took our dog for a leg stretch before lunch today we nearly had a fit! There was a line of these little sods crossing the tarmac path and our dog nearly stood on them. If she had not obeyed my shout to her to stop then she would have been in trouble at the very elat with her feet. We hadn't really thought about them being on the ground so early, but I suppose that the early sunshine and mild temps have brought them down from the pines.

If you are wondering just what I am ranting on at here then if you have a dog, or young children, then google 'pine processionary caterpillar', have a look at some of the problems they can cause and believe them. These little blighters can kill dogs and cause all sorts of skin problems to people because of the hairs on them. They contain very strong irritants (spelling) and can cause temporary or permanent blindness.

2 years back I was picking up some of the hundreds of pine cones that drop from our trees when I came across a line of these things. I didn't actually touch them but I came very close. An hour after that I felt as if the skin on my arms was on fire and my eyes and nose were burning too. It took several hours before the effect wore off and as I said I didn't actually contact them!

They are very easy to recognise because as their name suggests they form a nose to tail procession when they come down to the ground to find soft earth to bury themselves in to pupate. They are the white fluffy cocoons that you see in so very many pine trees. There are none that I know of in ours because when they appear I cut them ut and burn them. It is the only safe way to deal with them.

Sorry for those that I am teaching to suck eggs, but there are a hell of a lot of folks who just don't know what they are. Anyway, if you don't know then how on earth can a little caterpillar do so much hurt? But they can!
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Hear, hear. I and my dog suffered very badly last year, before i had any idea of how dangerous these creatures are. I had the most terrible and very extensive rash, or hives which appeared overnight and caused great discomfort for weeks. I initially thought my poor dog had suffered a stroke until i went to the vet.

We had two of the pine trees they like in our garden so we cut the larger one down (reaching the nests was impossible) and left the smaller one in situ. We destroy the nests by burning them as soon as they appear in this tree. Even though we haven't had any live nests since last year, the hairs from previous caterpillars seem to float around for ever because i always get a few hives now whenever we visit, although not nearly as many. John is right, they are an absolute menace.
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Here's a link to pictures and info:


This mentions Spain, but the same applies in France.

A friend and his cat were both ill after Sebastian took his bag from the boot and put it on the ground. We guessed afterwards that some of the hairs had stuck to the bag and were carried into the apartment, as there were nests in trees nearby.

I saw some of the nests in a tree in our town; branches overhang a pavement near the post office, so we're hoping they'll be removed. I've not seen any around us before, so decided to pass the info on in case they aren't known about. A lot of people and dogs pass under that tree - I give it a wide berth now. The weather has been so mild that I imagine they'll soon be climbing down, like Jonzjob saw.

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Why thankyou kind sir ........;)

This was taken at the lac near revel ..... where people were just jogging , walking dogs and kids playing and there were millions of them everywhere .....I had to wonder if there was going to be some sore feet that night ..... didnt notice any signs giving warnings .... but I knew cos you had told me to stay away from them ;)


R U gunna answer my email ??

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The thing that fascinates us is that when ever we talk to our French friends they always throw their hands in the air and say how bad they are, BUT nobody in any kind of authority seems to be doing anything about them?

Today we took our poch for a bit of a walk around the football pitch and the grounds at the bottom of the village and we trod VERY carefully and were searching the grass in front of where we walked because you could see dozens of cocoons in the trees surrounding the ground!

It would seem that everyone knows, but nobody cares?

I have wondered what would happen if one of our Trans-Atlantic cousins came over on holiday and came into contact with some of these little delights, had a bad reaction and sued the a r s e (it wouldn't let me put a s s?) off of the local council?

How many MILLION dollars/€ would that holliday be worth?

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  • 2 weeks later...
Hi, we have a large pine tree in the garden and can usually reach the nests cut them out and burn them. Unfortunately this year they are too high and we have now found about five long lines of them. We at first were fascinated by them, that was until our friends dog touched one, he was really ill and nearly lost his sight in one eye, not funny. We love wildlife but not something that does so much harm. We will have our tree topped so we can reach the nests and destroy them but all around us neighbours have the nests in their trees and don't seem to worry about them. I really think everyone should be made more aware of the danger to pets and humans.
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We have one of these http://www2.fiskars.com/Products/Yard-and-Garden/Pruning-Stik-R/Pruning-Stik-R-Telescoping-Tree-Pruner-12 It extends to 4 meters. I have also got some angle iron and welded it together to form an X. I then get our 4 meter pool net pole and with a couple of Jublee clips I fix them together. Quite alkward to use and still not enough to reach the very top of a couple of our trees so out comes our large 3 piece 'A' frame ladder and I have managed to get all of the ones we have seen, even right at the top.

We even had the unusual situation where one suddenly appeared near the bottom of one of the trees a few days back.

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