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Oak Processionary Moth

Is this for real?

We recently took a call from a concerned customer. He'd been visited by a representative from the Forestry Commission who asked to inspect the trees in his garden for Oak Processionary Moth. "Is this for real", he wanted to ask us. Yes, we’re afraid this is for real.

Oak Processionary Moth in your area

Since the first outbreak of OPM in West London in 2006 surveys have been carried out twice each year in towns around the North of Surrey.

The red dots on the map show where OPM nests have been discovered. The green dotted line shows the boundaries of the known outbreaks since 2014.

There are three confirmed outbreaks of breeding OPM in Southern England, which include Elmbridge and Spelthorne districts of Surrey (discovered 2006), Bromley and Croydon Boroughs in South London (2012) and Pangbourne in West Berkshire (2010).

Work is being undertaken by the Forestry Commission and Defra to minimise the size, spread and impact of this pest as much as possible.

About Oak Processionary Moth

OPM originates from Southern Europe and was accidentally introduced into the UK in 2005. Whilst environmental factors have kept it at bay in Southern Europe, our more recent warmer and dryer springs has helped the pest survive further north.

Identifying Oak Processionary Moth

OPM gain their name from the nose-to-tail processions of the caterpillars that you can see in late spring and early summer.

They almost exclusively live in oak trees, feeding on the leaves, which can be stripped bare leaving the tree vulnerable to other pests and further damage from adverse weather such as floods and high winds.

The caterpillars build white, silken nests on the trunks and branches of oak trees. In early summer you can see white, silken trails on the trunks and branches, which discolour after a short time making them harder to spot.

The adult moth is brown moth and can easily be mistaken for other, harmless moths. They are active from mid to late summer, busy laying eggs on the smaller branches of the oak trees.

Oak Processionary Moth near you

If you are concerned that you might have a tree infected by OPM, please contact us immediately.

Do not touch the caterpillars or their nests. The thousands of tiny hairs on the caterpillars have been known to cause itchy rashes to the skin and in a few cases sore throats, breathing difficulties and eye problems.

Connick Tree Care holds specialist qualifications to deal with invasive weeds and pests, which gives you peace of mind that you will receive the correct advice and a professional service. Call us on 0800 975 4535 or complete the contact form.

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