Oak Processionary Moth – Dave Ford Tree Care

Risk to Health

Oak Processionary Moth or OPM (Thaumetopoea processionea) is native to Southern Europe and poses a threat to the health of the tree and the humans and animals in the vicinity.

The caterpillars of the moths move around the tree, consuming the oak leaves which increases its vulnerability to other diseases and reduces the tree’s longevity. To humans, animals and pets the threat is even greater as the caterpillars’ urticating hairs contain a toxin known to cause severe allergic reactions. Itching, skin lesions, sore throats, breathing difficulties and eye problems can all be caused by coming into physical contact with the nest or if the caterpillars’ hairs are blown by the breeze onto you. Medical attention should be sought immediately if contact with OPM is made and any symptoms develop.

We are able to identify and advise on OPM and would recommend that you get in touch with us immediately if you have any concerns of an outbreak on your property. You can read more about OPM on the RHS website here.

FACT: Oak Processionary Moth is named after the distinctive processionary way that the caterpillars move around the tree, nose to tail.

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