Processionary Pine Caterpillar dangers

IT is the time of year to pay special attention to natural dangers when out walking, local vet Riccardo Giglioli has warned. “Residents of Mallorca will probably be aware of the Processionary Pine Caterpillar, but it is important to remind everyone of the harm they can cause,” said Riccardo, who has a practice in Peguera.

The processionary pine caterpillar nests in pine trees in what looks like white candy floss. There is only one generation of caterpillars every year and most of the time they are not a threat.

The most dangerous time is in from now until April when the animals come down from their nests in the pine trees in search of food. The caterpillars are called ‘Processionals’ because of the single line they form as they go on their hunt for food.

The caterpillars are very attractive to children and dogs, and are potentially very harmful to both.

caterpillar2_webDo not allow any children or dogs in your care to approach the caterpillars as the long hairs on the bodies of the insects harbour poison which is a skin irritant, and if ingested can be fatal.

Allergic reactions are quite common in both animals and children.

“If your dog touches, sniffs or eats the caterpillars then firstly rinse the area with hot water and then seek medical attention and advice right away,” said Riccardo.

“It is better to be safe than sorry, and the sooner we can treat the problem the more chance your beloved pet has of surviving”.

Call 971689525 for more information.

By Vicki McLeod

 

Fascinating Facts

• The pine tree is a protected species in Spain and it is forbidden to cut them down.

• Experiments in America have shown that if the caterpillars are put in a circle nose to tail they will go round and round until they die from lack of food.

• The allergic reaction can be caused by the tiniest bit of dust that floats down from an infected tree. You do not have to touch the caterpillar.

 

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