A caterpillar you definitely want to be social distancing with!

Friday 5th June

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Unfortunately, OPM is spreading again this year and there are more nests than ever in London and surrounding many of the home counties.

Oak processionary Moth training is being carried out to ensure all Maydencroft arborists are qualified in nest disposal. As one of the few specialist Oak Processionary Moth contractors, to keep our teams at the top of their game is our top priority at this time of year.

What is OPM?

The oak processionary moth is a non-native species whose caterpillars feed on oak leaves and cause significant damage to the integrity of the tree. The species was accidentally introduced to the UK in 2005. Larvae follow each other nose to tail in a long processionary line between the nest and feeding areas which give them their name. The caterpillars have distinctive long white hairs emerging from reddish warts along their bodies, a single dark stripe down their backs and a whitish line along each side.

Allergic reactions to mature caterpillar hairs are frequent as they contain a harmful chemical causing rashes, conjunctivitis and respiratory problems. Health problems can even occur when there is no direct contact with the caterpillars as their hairs fall off very easily. Abandoned nests will contain lots of hairs and shed skins and should be treated with due care.

Please contact us if you have any sightings and use the Tree Alert online form. Alternatively, you can email opm@forestrycommission.gov.uk