Oak Processionary Moth

Thaumetopoea processionea

Description:

larvae of
Thaumetopoea processionea
Facts:

This is a medium sized moth with a wingspan of 25-30mm but it is the larvae which is of interest as it exhibits the behaviour which gives it its name whereby the larvae form chains which move nose to tail in procession. They voraciously eat the foliage from most species of Quercus (oak) and they also have utriculating hairs on their dorsum which can produce a severe rash if touched .

Introduced:

First established colonies found in West London in 2006 - now also found in Berkshire
Origin:
Central/Southern Europe
Location:
London, Berkshire and other home counties locations
Status:
Appears to be slowly increasing in numbers
Problems:
Comments:
The larvae can be a severe pest on all species of Oak trees. Utriculating hairs on the larvae are also a health hazard.