Chenille processionnaire

Hi folks:

Anyone got any experience with these *******s?

Situation: Pappi next door (late 80s) has two pine trees in back garden that harbor these things. Now he is too old and feeble and currently in hospital (spoke with his niece who looks after him and he is likely to not come home and go into care home).

They are coming into our garden and we have two dogs. The younger one definately came into contact with one last year but THANKFULLY was ok in the end (puked a lot and ate a lot of grass). I had called vet and they advised to look out for spots on tounge which did not materialise.

Last year I did call the Marie who told us it is our problem, yet there are departmental oragnisations which say these are a public nuisance

Does anyone know where we stand?

Now thankfully a VERY kind neighbor (farmer) got out the JCB yesterday and sent his missus up the tree with the chain saw (yikes!!!) They took out some big nests and burned them for us (crate of wine duly delivered) but some smaller ones remain.

We also got some Decis J (Bayer) as recommended from garden supply store but have not applied it yet.

Any suggestions? Really worried about the woofs and they are on biohazard lock down and not allowed in the garden.



Sorry Brian, both you and whoever you are "quoting" are mistaken and if you would like to direct me to them I will communicate with them.


I found them in a small nest on nettles. They were roughly 1.5m from our neighbour's pine. Until then I believed they were only on pinus species trees, and we have hundreds of pinus sylvestris hereabouts, but enquired on the 'Impact' forestry site at the University of Swansea. They have a good set of data on the wee beasts because they have been expecting the imminent arrival of moths or caterpillars for a few years (imported trees or other things that might carry moths particularly). One of their people answered back saying that as long as they are within close proximity of pines as their nocturnal food source, then they will nest on other species. So be vigilant people. On the other hand, there are similar nests of other species who are less or not at all nasty, so ask somebody who knows.

Have just found this useful leaflet on the life-cycle and how to get rid of them (carefully!):

and this link to a pdf file which contains all the French 'articles', règlement sanitaire départemental for Pyrenees Atlantique (downloads pdf and you need to open the download):
link to règlement sanitaire

nice to hear there are additional predators.

This article mentions the caterpillars are always in a chain which is true for the mostpart. Before we knew about these critters, a couple of small pine trees we cut down contained tiny nests, and when disturbed, the caterpillars went out to find new fodder - even though there were just a few, they spread out like a fan, I guess to increase chances of survival.

I can't exactly remember where I got the attached pic about the law, but I think it was published in a local magazine of Limoux as a notification from the Mairie.

Interesting. Can I just correct the Hoopoe bit?

""Natural predators are: Crested tits that will eat the eggs and very young caterpillars. Cuckoos that will eat the caterpillars. Hoopoes that will eat the pupa from the ground and most bats that will eat the moths.""

Pine processionary moth

I'll look into the law, I suspect it may be rather like the "Chardon law" but a new one on me.


As I said when the post was first up, I looked across the valley and saw loads of them. I went to the mairie and he marked them all on a photocopy of the communes cadastrial plan, there were already plenty more already as it was. On Friday he was going to see somebody from the canton who is responsible for dealing with them. I called the mairie because I discovered some nests in our neighbours' one and only pine - just over a meter in from us but all on their side. The man who is eradicating them obviously put up traps yesterday whilst we were out, which I noticed whilst doing walkies, so shows that there are people who do deal with it. If mairies, at least the maire, show no interest then it is dereliction of their duties and we are entitled to complain one step up the admin ladder and I would therefore encourage people to put what they find on paper and do it together with neighbours or others from their commune to make sure they are dealt with if we cannot do it ourselves.

Thank you very much for that. Ammo to use at the Marie.

they are already in the south of Holland...

There is a law which states people should prevent the spread of these insects, although I've never heard of any action being taken if one doesn't:

Some people in our village put them in a bag and take them to the dump. We feel this is not enough because the hairs can remain active for many years after, not to mention that if the bag breaks open, the caterpillars might escape. The only way is to burn them, or pour boiling water over them.

When we first arrived at our house, there were several pine trees on the property, all containing nests - in one tree alone there were over 50 nests - calculate how many caterpillars there are when there can potentially be 350 per nest - nasty.

Here is a link to a blog post I made a few years ago, complete with photos and facts:

For 3 years we have been chenille nest free, but this year we had 5 nests in a tree (Himalayan Cedar) - note they are not always in pine trees but have a preference for the Pin d'Alep, although most pine trees are acceptable for nesting.

Even if they have already 'marched', it's best to remove and burn the nests as they contain pheramones which will attract new babes to the tree next season.

Personally we know of two dogs (one with holes in his tongue - luckily he didn't lose his tongue) and one child who have been affected by them. Nature lovers we are, but these insects need to be stomped out. As far as I am aware, the only predators are hoopoes, which eat the caterpillars, and moles, which eat the larvae. If I spot these nests in trees in our village, I post a copy of the article above in their letterbox.

I'm in Aveyron. There is a site for the lower half of the MidiPyrenees but not ours and can't seem to find contact details on the net (even using french google)

hello, be very careful with these I know of dogs that have list there tounge, these are very dangerous to humans also, I saw n the news people completely covered from head to foot spraying them. I am sure that the Marie has to do something I would go to the district dept. where are you

I spoke to my distributor today regarding rocket fuel chemicals.

The product they recommended up until last year was Foray 96B. But it is now banned to all pest controllers without a specific licence...and a helicopter licence!

The only product available/recommended is the Eco Piège.

Hope that helps.

Getting rid of pine trees in gardens is the solution and would go a long way to protecting dogs that are the principle victims due to their behavioral characteristics.

No other wildlife is detrimentally affected AFAIK.

It's perhaps worth considering that this is largely a "man made" problem in France, 99% of pine trees have been planted by us starting with Napoleon like so many other stupid things.

Don't forget - it's only pine trees they use.

""There are of course a large number of “hairy” caterpillars and all hairy caterpillars can cause irritation to some degree, but before you go killing every caterpillar in sight, these other caterpillars are not a danger and I would encourage you to leave them alone, they are often the caterpillars of some of our more colourful butterflies.""


Later, Chris

Well as I said, driving up to Aurillac yesterday there were dozens along the N122.

We've still to speak to the Marie - seems that even though they should be open, I think they are 'fermé' due to school holidays.

Whilst we are not a pine forest area, these are in trees that the neighbor planted 30 odd years ago. And interesting Brian about the nettles. I did see some last year on some thistles, so they can't be that fussy little £*$ù$*ù'.

The pine processionary moths are gradually spreading over all of France and southern Germany. They have been seen in Loire Atlantique last summer. Nice addition to the alien species they are worrying about in the UK soon then. The people writing about them I was looking at are scientists and when they say climate change has enabled them to cross mountain ranges that were previously too cold for them, I reckon a few kilometres of sea will be no problem with a nice wind behind them.

My OH knows them from the other side of the Alps all of her life and is not too concerned, but makes sure they are dealt with for the sakes of animals and curious children. As for other wild life, it seems that squirrels are killed, other tree feeders are occasionally, on the ground small mammals such as hedgehogs are learning to avoid them already and larger ones like badgers, wild cats, fox, deer and so on avoid them. Probably it is a case of the rest of nature adapts but our species is far slower than evolution would give us to believe.

yes we have had lots of problems this year as well as we are surrounded by pine trees. We had them marching up two stories of the house and had a heck of a job getting them down. As you say they are lethal for dogs but we find if they get in the house they 'nest' in dark corners of cloth - coats, cushions, sofas etc and then leave their little house behind when they hatch into moths. This year seems to be worse than other years and I wonder if it is because it has been such a mild and wet winter. I think the only option is to burn the nests but the caterpillars themselves do take some killing we've found. There was a village near here a few years ago who were really plagued by them and the mairie did take action but it is the only time I have heard of this

We had these fascinating creatures nesting in two of our pine trees...when they came down the first couple of years...I simply scooped them up and drowned them down the one of my cats had reacted to their hairs. I felt very guilty until I was told just how dangerous they were to animals and people. So the following year I put some heavy duty sticky tape around the stop them coming down...and then wearing my gardening gloves... scooped them off the tree and burned them. On one occasion my beloved came out to help me...but was instantly allergic to their flying hairs...his face and neck were covered in a red itchy rash. So I had both trees cut down...the nests were burned...and the trunks cut in to huge logs... which I used to make a raised flower bed. Nothing goes to waste in our house :-) Since then we've had no problems with them. My neighbours seem to have no fears about them...but then they don't have family pets.

I understand that these creatures have gradually moved to France from Spain...makes me wonder how the wild life reacts to them.

Hope this interests a few of you who perhaps don’t know the full cycle of these moths.
Our chap burns the nest in the wood burner, no chance of escapees!


Firstly, all good pest control products are expensive, Eco Piège are excellent but too expensive if you have a pine forest, at over 40€ each/per tree.

Cutting out and burning the nests is a good idea. Sending the wife up, even better; Somebody's got to drive the tractor!

I've had a look at Decis J It is a professional insecticide, not for unqualified use (so well done getting hold of it). It is, however, not intended to kill chenilles processainaire, most insecticides are intended to kill adult insects not larvae stage such as the caterpiller (with semi-metamorphose insects the instars are usually killed). On the site above, if you click on the Télécharger le fiche, it will list the risks and hazards of the product. Every product, including washing up liquid, has a Fiche de Sécurité (or MSDS Safety Data Sheet English).

If you do use the Decis J, you could be killing everything BUT the intended target, so be careful how you spray.

As of late last year, there is a specific qualification for the use of specific products, regarding the chenilles, alas I missed the boat this year, in the meantime. The treatment is normally very expensive, which is why the Mairies are not keen to pay for it.

FREDON are an organisation, each region, sometimes Départments have one. They are not pest controllers but it might be worth chatting with them as it appears that they offer a bulk buying service for the pièges and offer some training.

Good luck