The procession of a special kind. It is the time of the processions, but not of the human kind. From February, the processions of the pine processionary moth ( Thaumetopoea pityocampa ) will start again in Mediterranean regions and the Algarve. What looks cute when caterpillar caterpillar, can have serious consequences for man and pine.
The Pine Procession Moth belongs to the family of Processionary Moths. In central and southern Europe, there are three of the 100 or so species of this family, the oak processionary moth, the pine processionary spinner and the pine-tree spinner.
In the Algarve , the pine processionary moth is well known. Because he can cause forest damage of greater magnitude. In addition, it can cause serious health damage.
The tiny stinging hairs contain a poisonous protein that can lead to severe skin inflammation, dizziness and shortness of breath in humans to anaphylactic shock. The burning hairs are also woven into the caterpillar nests and can easily be blown by the wind.
How to fight the pine processionary moth
According to the life cycle you have different possibilities at different seasons. In the summer months, the butterflies of the pine processionary moth lay eggs in makeshift nests in the branches of pine trees.
The larvae hatch, develop and form the often football big, whitish shimmering nests in the host trees, which can be inhabited by several thousand caterpillars.
These nests can be removed. Due to the poisonous hair of the caterpillars but must be handled very carefully. The entire body must be completely protected with a protective suit and goggles. The nests must then be burned or crushed.
In spring, from the middle of February begins in the Algarve, the procession of the pine processionary moth, where a caterpillar is oriented by the sense of touch to its predecessor.
The caterpillars migrate down to bury themselves in the ground. There the butterfly of the pine processionary moth slips in summer and a new cycle begins.
The procession and pupating can be stopped by attaching adhesive tapes to the pin stem to stop the caterpillars. The caterpillars can also be picked up. But here, too, extreme caution is asked because of the health problems that can cause the caterpillars.
The chemical club
In forestry also the agent dimilin, chemical diflubenzuron, applied. It is sprayed in the Algarve in mid-September to the end of October in the crowns of the pine trees.
However, it is a very toxic pesticide that sooner or later gets into the groundwater.
Garden owners in the Algarve are advised to strengthen pines with good fertilizers to activate their own defense mechanisms. The courageous collection of the caterpillars and the caterpillar nests also reduces the caterpillar plague from year to year.