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The oak processionary caterpillar is back: you have to pay attention to this

The first oak processionary caterpillars got hairs in mid-May. That’s when they start to form nests and they become visible in your environment.

Do you have to deal with the oak processionary caterpillar in your own garden or territory? RIVM recommends that you do not fight the nest yourself. Ask your municipality for advice.

Spins around the oak tree

Oak processionary caterpillars are moth larvae. They are about three centimeters in size and you can recognize them by their white, hairy appearance. As soon as the eggs hatch, the oak processionary caterpillars gather in large nests on the trunk of the oak tree. The nests consist of a dense spin of threads, stinging hairs, sloughing skins and feces.

Itching and irritation

Each oak processionary caterpillar contains 700,000 hairs. These hairs of about 0.3 millimeters in size have barbs. In defense, the caterpillar shoots off these stinging hairs. If the hairs get on your body through the wind, they can penetrate your skin, eyes and respiratory system. You can experience complaints such as itchy skin, irritated eyes or tightness. Read more about the possible complaints here.

Avoid contact with the caterpillars

You can prevent complaints caused by the processionary caterpillar. Never touch processionary caterpillars or their nests, or rather, avoid places where the caterpillars occur. Are you going to an area where the processionary caterpillar lives? Then cover your body well. More tips to avoid complaints.

Relieve pain and itching

Have you come into contact with the processionary caterpillar? Do not scratch or rub if you have an itch. Try to “strip” the affected skin with adhesive tape. Then rinse your skin with lukewarm water. Then apply a pain and itch-relieving cream. Read more about how you can relieve complaints.

Note: always contact your doctor if you experience an eye infection or an allergic reaction from the oak processionary caterpillar.

For this article we worked together with There you will find many more articles about health, checked by doctors and medical specialists.


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