Look out for caterpillar pest

The Forestry Commission is asking the public to report sightings of a tree pest.

Oak processionary moth caterpillars can be found on oak trees. You’ll see them at any time between now and the end of August when they turn into moths.

The caterpillars appear in large numbers and will look at first like a band of discoloured bark.

Oak processionary moth caterpillars feed on the leaves of several species of oak trees. This can cause the trees to lose their leaves, negatively impacting their growth. The trees become more vulnerable to other stresses, like drought.

The caterpillars and their nests contain hairs which can cause itchy rashes, eye and throat irritations. They should not be touched under any circumstances.

First identified in the South East in 2006, there are concerns about the spread of the pest. Especially following the devastation caused by ash dieback.

If you spot the pest, report the sighting via our TreeAlertportal. Alternatively, you can email opm@forestrycommission.gov.uk or call 0300 067 4442.

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