17 June 2020
Islanders are being encouraged to report any sightings of Oak Processionary Caterpillars this summer.
The Oak Processionary Moth in its caterpillar (larvae) stage is dangerous to both human and animal health because of their toxic hairs which can cause a severe skin irritation or allergic reaction.
The caterpillars build silken nests in oak trees, covering the tree in tiny invisible hairs, making the area hazardous. The nests are white/off-white to brown fibrous structures ranging in size from 10 – 30cm, and may be on trunks, branches or the forks of branches.
The hairs can be blown by the wind and if they fall to the ground they can stick to trunks, branches, grass and clothing as well as equipment used by tree surgeons, forestry and ground-care workers. Anyone in this line of work is advised to wear full protective clothing. Pets and children should stay away from nests and caterpillars.
Scott Meadows, Head of Biosecurity said: “The species was accidentally introduced to Jersey approximately 10 years ago and is classed as a statutory invasive species. The Environment department really value the public being aware of and reporting such species. There have been very few sightings to date, but we feel it is important to make the public aware. So, if you suspect you have seen a nest or the caterpillars in an oak tree, try and get a picture but don’t approach too closely and call it in.”
Islanders are being urged not to touch Oak Processionary Caterpillars, or their nests. Sightings should be reported to the Environment Department by emailing Environment@gov.je. Anyone with a severe reaction or who is uncertain what has caused their rash should consult their GP.
Please find further information
on how to spot the caterpillars and to view a full list of the health hazards.