10 July 2020

Oak Processionary Moth

The Oak Processionary Moth is extending its reach across the UK and has been detected at KGV.  Please be aware of the need to avoid it.
An Oak Processionary Moth nest, high in the canopy of a tree

The Oak Processionary Moth is extending its reach across the UK.  Currently it is widespread in Surrey and recently we have found that it has arrived at KGV.  It is not so much the Moth that is the problem as the caterpillars, nests of which form on the branches of oaks.  The caterpillars are very hairy and direct contact with them or even the area of ground  below them where hairs might have fallen is to be avoided at all costs because the hairs cause intense, lasting irritation. At KGV the steps we have taken are to put notices up warning people to be wary.  The nests are so high up and relatively hidden that it is unlikely you would brush one by accident, or that curious children could touch one.  They have been reported to the Forestry Commission.  Low-lying nests have been removed by specialist tree surgeons, and remaining ones will be sprayed by specialist contractors at the first opportunity this is done in the cycle of the moth’s life, ie next spring.  However please stay away from oak trees just in case.  Keep to existing paths and tracks, and encourage children and animals to do the same.