Oak Processionary Moth (Thaumetopoea processionea) or OPM is a pest which poses a threat to trees, the public and animals.
Due to this Please do not attempt to touch the caterpillars or nests.
If you suspect you have an OPM infestation in your oak tree/s Connick Tree Care’s professional arboriculturists and operatives can help you. The action we would take would depend on which stage of the lifecycle the moth is at and would either consist of either a biological or growth regulating agent during the larval stage which occurs during April and May. Or manually removing nests from the trees outside of the time.
At Connick Tree Care we do not endorse the use of pyrethroid based insecticides due to their harmful effects to bees and other insects.
The first outbreak of OPM was discovered in the Elmbridge and Spelthorne areas of Surrey in 2006 and has since spready to include most of Greater London and some of the surrounding counties in South East England.
Although it is known and Oak Processionary Moth, it is the caterpillar stage that poses a hazard. Once the eggs have hatched and the caterpillars emerge, they feed on the oak tree leaves slowly defoliating the crown. This can weaken the tree leaving it vulnerable to other pests and disease.
In addition, the caterpillars have fine hairs on them which contain a substance that causes irritation and rashes to people and animals. In severe cases, if inhaled, they can also cause respiratory problems.
These hairs are easily shed from the caterpillars and be dispersed in the wind and gather in their nests which become dense with them and pose a hazard.
If you have a large population of Oak trees within your responsibility our arboricultural consultancy department can help you survey and record your trees and form appropriate management plans to optimise resources.
Timing is key to the effective control and eradication of OPM, to ensure that the correct treatment is applied to coincide with the OPM life cycle, so please get in touch if you have any questions and one of professional arboriculturists will happily talk through your requirements.