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Irish Dept. Agric. Issue Alert On Threat To Oak Trees.

Oak Processionary Caterpillars

With thousands of people taking to walking in our forests presently greatly benefiting their mental health; the Irish Department of Agriculture has issued an alert, asking that walkers be on the look out for Oak Processionary Caterpillars, latter a pest which feeds on oak tree leaves, causing significant damage.

These caterpillars travel in a nose-to-tail procession (Hence their name – ‘Oak Processionary Caterpillars’) often arrow-headed, by one leader, followed by rows of several caterpillars travelling abreast.

These black and white caterpillars are hairy and are easy to observe visually. Already one nest has been located and eradicated in a Dublin Park, traced back to a recent import of oak trees which arrived here from Belgium.

Oak trees and plants remain a host for this pest, however, same are unlikely to be found on any other of our tree other than the oak.

Concerns now are that this caterpillar will moult into a moth, before then flying unto other host oak trees, to lay their eggs producing the next generation.

It should be noted that these caterpillars are also a human irritant, because of their venomous setae (hairs), which can cause skin irritation and asthma. To this end they should not be touched under any circumstances and any suspected sightings should be notified immediately by emailing plantandpests@agriculture.gov.ie

Why people are importing oak trees from Belgium into Ireland of all places; I totally fail to understand?

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