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Oak processionary moths

The oak processionary moth (thaumetopoea processionea) is a pest that has been identified within the borough. It lives on oak trees and poses a risk to human and animal health.

Health risk

The caterpillar of this moth emerges in April every year and develops thousands of urticating (irritating) hairs, which can cause skin rashes, sore throats, breathing difficulties and eye problems if you come into contact with them.


Each year we employ specialists to treat oak trees to prevent the caterpillars from developing into a hazardous state, and to survey and remove nests.

What to do if you see or touch them

If you see any oak processionary moths or caterpillars you should report them immediately.

It is important not to come into contact with the caterpillars, hairs or nests. The Forestry Commission has produced a leaflet with further information about this.

If you think you may have been exposed and have an itching skin rash and/or conjunctivitis or other symptoms, call 999 if it is an emergency, or if it is a non-emergency contact your GP.


Find out more about the oak processionary moth on Forestry Research.

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Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 31 Jan 2020 at 10:21