The first oak processionary caterpillars are almost ready to hatch
You probably remember the nightmare that the oak processionary caterpillars caused last year. Well, the first ones of this year are almost ready to hatch with an expected DOB of around April 6. Lucky us, coronavirus and now this…
No nuisance yet
According to researchers at the Oak Processionary Caterpillar Knowledge Centre, the caterpillars and eggs have not had any problems with the rain or wind we’ve been having the last weeks. Luckily, once the caterpillars have hatched they won’t immediately be of bother to us. That will only be the case in the second half of May when they get their stinging hairs and start nesting.
The caterpillars that hatch next month will have to survive without food for a while, as the oak trees only start getting leaves later in April. This doesn’t mean they will all die off, as caterpillars in good condition can hang on for a while without food.
The newly hatched caterpillars are vulnerable to natural predators like birds. Because of this, many municipalities have hung up bird boxes or handed these out for free to residents to attract as many birds as possible to come and eat the caterpillars.
Last summer’s situation
Last summer, the oak processionary caterpillar caused a great deal of nuisance, with dozens of people experiencing eye problems after getting the stinging hairs in their eyes and huge numbers visiting their GP with itchiness and bumps.