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The Oak Processionary Moth

The oak processionary moth/caterpillar is a pest and health hazard. The Oak Processionary Caterpillar has long spear-like defensive hairs which can be shot at threats as a defense mechanism. These hairs are however not only harmful to the caterpillar’s predators, but also to humans. These hairs sting and can cause irritation, pain, and inflammation to human skin and eyes.Once the caterpillars transform into moths, they are no longer harmful.

The exponential increase in their population can largely be attributed to climate change; the moth profits from the shorter, warmer winters and the hotter summers. BioInnovate works with sustainable options for countering this pest.

Mating disruption is a technique designed for sustainable pest control, developed around preventing the pest from mating. Pheromones are widely placed in the concerned trees, disorienting the male moth, and preventing it from finding the female moth. This blocks the reproductive cycle.
BioInnovate cooperates with local governments to assess whether mating disruption slows down or halts the spread of the species and has documented postive results. In the regions where this technique has been applied, the population of the oak processionary moth has drastically declined.

The use of this method of pest control has multiple advantages. It allows for the avoidance of drastic measures such as cutting down oaks; it has no negative side effects on humans; it is cost effective; and it is entirely environmentally friendly & sustainable.

We have a partnership with Hellingman Onderzoek en Advies for our work with the Oak Processionary Moth in the Netherlands.