Oak Processionary Moth
Oak Processionary Moth Threat in Pangbourne: The Oak Processionary Moth is a pest on Oak Trees. They have been reported recently in the following areas: West and South-West London, the Bromley/Croydon area of South London, and the Pangbourne area of Berkshire. Normally their range is restricted to Southern Europe but they have been spreading northwards. It is thought that the outbreak in the London area was introduced on imported saplings. A restriction on imported trees is now in place. This moth can damage and stress the Oak tree so much that they can die. The caterpillars can cause an allergic reaction in humans.
There are signs posted in the woods around the Pangbourne area warning people that some time in April or May there will be aerial spraying by helicopter to treat the treats for this moth. The insecticide will kill the caterpillars.
I can see potential problems with this, especially for pest controllers but also for bird and other wildlife. The spray will kill all caterpillars. The main diet of wasps in the Spring and early Summer is caterpillars. They kill vast numbers, not to eat themselves but the feed to the growing grubs. These caterpillars are chewed up by the worker wasps then fed to the grubs. In exchange the grubs excrete a sweet substance that the workers eat. This exchange carries on until the grub production stops, usually in August and then the worker wasps change their diet to include the ripening fruit. It is at this time that wasps cause the most damage to fruit and cause the most nuisance to people.
If caterpillars are killed over a wide area then I am sure nests will either die out or not develop fully. In addition to this many birds rely on a constant supply of caterpillars, not only for themselves but to feed their young.
For advice on any pest control matters or to book a pest control treatment then please call 0330 100 2811.