LOOKING AFTER PETS Processionary caterpillars , Leishmanosis and other pet nasties

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LOOKING AFTER PETS Processionary caterpillars , Leishmanosis and other pet nasties


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Old 4th April 2010, 04:53 PM
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Default LOOKING AFTER PETS Processionary caterpillars , Leishmanosis and other pet nasties

The processionary pine caterpillar as the name suggests makes its home in a certain type of pine tree.

There is only one generation per year and most of the time the caterpillars are not seen and therefore not a threat. The most dangerous time is in February, March and April when they start to come down from the pine trees in search of food. The caterpillars can do a lot of damage to pine trees and when they have stripped a tree of all its needles they will form a long line and begin their search for other pine trees and more food.

Experiments in America have shown that if the caterpillars are put in a circle nose to tail they will go round and round until they die from lack of food.

This processionary line makes them particularly attractive to young children, who are used to their non-toxic cousins in England. However, dogs are very much at risk as they tend to sniff the caterpillars and inhale the poison.

If you are visiting the Iberian Peninsula or even now southern France in the early part of the year and are travelling through areas of pine trees have a look out for the nests. They are very easy to see. Just look for white cocoons similar to candy floss in the trees and make a hasty exit. Whatever you do, do not stop and go walking about under the trees.

The long line they form makes them easily identifiable, hence the name. Long hairs give out poison that when touched irritates the skin. Allergic reactions are not unknown and if ingested the consequences can be dire.

The real risk of complications to a healthy human being is minimal, but we have had first hand experience of humans and dogs being affected, fortunately with no serious outcome.

a STORY ABOUT A MAN WHO WAS AFFECTED....

HE SHELTERED DURING A RAIN STORM Within seconds of brushing against the tree he became aware of an intense feeling of itching and burning, similar to pins and needles all over him. This later developed into an itchy rash. He went to the chemist who advised an immediate trip to the doctor. At the doctors he was given two injections, cream for the rash and a course of tablets. It is very important to complete the course of tablets as any dust from the tree that has been inhaled can cause lung damage.

The allergic reaction can be caused by the tiniest bit of dust that floats down from an infected tree. You do not have to touch the caterpillar.


processionary Caterpillars are dangerous to both cats and dogs. They have a very bittersweet smell and taste, and your DOG will try to eat them. If eaten by your lab, the results are almost certain to be fatal. As little as three or four will kill a medium sized dog. The reaction to the poison also causes necrosis of the tongue, and if you as the labrador owner do not notice in time, it is usually to late for a vet to do anything to help, apart from ease the suffering
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Last edited by siobhanwf; 18th August 2012 at 11:31 AM.
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Old 4th April 2010, 05:05 PM
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Default How to identify processional caterpillars

COCCONS look like blobs of white candy floss

Coccoon that has been well lived in and now empty

Caterpillars on the move

You can see why they have earned the title processionary
Attached Images
File Type: jpg caterpillar 1.jpg (77.2 KB, 293 views)
File Type: jpg CATERPILLAR 2.jpg (178.0 KB, 404 views)
File Type: jpg CATERPILLAR 3.jpg (64.3 KB, 192 views)
File Type: jpg CATERPILLAR 4.jpg (57.9 KB, 311 views)
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Old 4th April 2010, 06:56 PM
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Hi Siobhan

A very timely warning thanks.

Peterfc 666?

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Old 4th April 2010, 07:03 PM
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Default more advice on those damn caterpillars

o not touch them. Warn your children that they are not like the friendly English caterpillars. The very fine hairs on these creatures are poisonous and most dangerous. They can be seen living in silk cocoon style nests hanging in the pine trees to which they are most harmful, stripping them of their pine needles. When hungry, they leave their cocoon to seek another uninfested tree on which to feed. They travel nose to tail in a line, hence the name Processional. They are most noticeable from January to mid April and are at their most dangerous in mid/late February. The caterpillars are often seen in the evenings, walking in procession from tree to tree.


If they drop onto you or your pet, don't brush them off with your hands because the effect is most unpleasant, causing great irritation, rash and pain.
Dogs, cats and people can suffer from shock.
The hairs of the caterpillars are still virulent even when the creatures are dead.
Do not hit them with sticks because hairs flying in the air are just as dangerous. Burn them, but be careful of floating hairs.
If the caterpillars are in the tree cocoon state, first spray the nest with hair spray (to seal down the hairs), cover the cocoon and the affected part of the branch with a plastic bag, cut down the branch, place it on clear ground and burn it.

If the caterpillars are on the ground marching, it is better first to spray them with lighter fuel and then set them alight.
This reduces the risk of flying hairs.
Take care to only do this in an area where you cannot inadvertently start a forest fire because during the summer months the undergrowth and trees are very dry.

If you live near pine trees, it is recommended that you keep Anti Histamine tablets handy as an early treatment. In particular, avoid ingesting the hairs.


Dogs are most at risk by sniffing the ground where the caterpillars have marched.

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Old 4th April 2010, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhanwf View Post
COCCONS look like blobs of white candy floss

Coccoon that has been well lived in and now empty

Caterpillars on the move

You can see why they have earned the title processionary
We have the coccoons in the trees near us!!....Will keep an eye on them.

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Old 5th April 2010, 10:21 AM
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We have the coccoons in the trees near us!!....Will keep an eye on them.

They are really nasty little things.

We ahv decided to cut down two pine trees in our garden because of them

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Old 5th April 2010, 10:44 AM
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Have you checked if you need permission to remove your trees ? I have read for here ( some areas of Spain) you need permission.

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Old 5th April 2010, 02:57 PM
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Have you checked if you need permission to remove your trees ? I have read for here ( some areas of Spain) you need permission.

Yes of course I have. No permission needed for these ones. Especially pine ones.
We have already cut down one. The only thing the local authority was worried about was would they have to do it for us LOL

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Old 5th January 2012, 10:15 AM
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Default That time of year again

Once the nest starts looking dirty around February and March this timing depends on spring temperatures can begin in January or continue until April as well. This is the time for them to leave the nest in preparation for the next part of their lifecycle.
It is at this point when most people and pets come into contact with the caterpillars, sometimes with very painful consequences.

The colony follows a leader, nose to tail, in a long procession. These processions can vary greatly in length, depending on how many have survived to this final caterpillar stage and whether they have been disturbed. 60 or so caterpillars each about 4cm long in a chain can be an impressive sight and if seen along a road may be mistaken for a snake.
They can travel a distance of 30 or so metres to find soft soil to burrow into while they get ready to turn into a moth.

The best advice is to avoid these innocent looking creatures at all costs.
The caterpillars are covered in tiny barbed hairs which are their defence mechanism.
These hairs are often being shed and so can be airborne around infested pine trees, on the branches where they have travelled and also left in the line of the migrating procession.
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Old 5th January 2012, 10:28 AM
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Default A lot more information

I had an infestation a couple of years ago and found this website useful
IEFC - Forest pests and diseases - Consult - Pin-I-3
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