By Anna Ellis •
Published: 10 Feb 2024 • 8:52
Early emergence of Processionary Caterpillars in Spain: Government issues warnings. Image: DeRebus / Shutterstock.com.
The emergence of processionary caterpillars in early spring has prompted warnings from the Spanish government due to the early presence of these pests.
The government say they believe their early exposure could be linked to climate change.
These caterpillars, characterised by their orange, green, or brown colour and covered in tiny poisonous hairs, typically move in long chains, hence their name.
While they were first discovered in oak trees in the UK, they are more commonly found in pine trees in Spain.
Europe has experienced a rise in the population of these caterpillars, leading to infestations in countries like Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium.
Despite efforts by local councils to control them, even urban areas with pine trees remain at risk.
Of particular concern is the danger these caterpillars pose to humans and animals. Their toxic hairs can cause skin irritation or rash upon contact, similar to a nettle sting.
However, severe cases can lead to allergic reactions or respiratory issues, especially for individuals with asthma.
Pets, especially dogs, are vulnerable to the toxic effects of these caterpillars. There have been reports of pets being fatally affected by the caterpillars’ toxic hairs.
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Originally from Derbyshire, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere on the Costa Blanca for 19 years. She is passionate about her animal family including four dogs and four horses, musicals and cooking.
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