The Pine Tree caterpillars are on the move again!!!!

These nasty, unfriendly, non-typical English caterpillars have very dangerous fine hairs that are very poisonous. Last year one of my cats’ paws and leg swelled up like Elephantitis, after playing with them. This resulted in the poor little thing suffering for weeks and numerous visits to our local vet.

The hairs that fly off them, even when burning them, can cause harm and shock to humans and animals even after they are dead. Do keep Ant-histamine tablets as a prompt treatment. Dogs sniff the ground where they have been marching and are at high risk of suffering shock.

If in doubt, check out with your doctor or vet immediately. Do not rub your eyes, if affected. The effects of these fine hairs cause causes something similar and as unpleasant as conjunctivitis. So wear specs or sunglasses when disposing of them. Do not wear sandals. Take care and use thick gloves.

These “Processional Caterpillars” have reeked havoc over the pine lands of Catalonia. They form huge cocoons in the pine trees and strip the trees of all its foliage. Then they move onto the next one.

Cover the cocoon with a carrier bag and secure it before cutting off that end of the branch. Do not knock them onto the ground. Wear a hat as well to avoid any falling onto your head.

Move the offending bag away to a sandy spot and burn them. They take some killing. On the weekend I had a roaring fire going and I was watching these “blighters” strolling along in it. When the fire is cold pick them up with a shovel and re-deposit them in a bag and take them to the skip to avoid curious cats and dogs from sniffing the fire remains.

Throughout the year, constantly check any pine trees on your property and remove the cocoons as soon as you see them. But remember, pine trees are protected in Catalonia so don´t go chopping the whole tree down. You will notice them from December and even as late as April. However, this time in February they are at their most dangerous when they start marching. The shortest line I have counted contained 37. The one I burned on Saturday had 105. I kid you not!

When they start moving, they march nose to tail in long thin lines. Some people recommend you spray them with lighter fuel or hair spray first. Be careful not to cause any fires.

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