Processionary Caterpillars

Can anyone help/advise?

We have recently made fed to the Lot-et-Garonne & inherited several large pine trees. We gave discovered that all our trees are infested with the nests of the dreaded pine caterpillar. We are dog owners & want to know the best way to proceed with avoiding problems before the spring. Is it going to be a mass lopping down of the trees which is an expensive possibility or are there any remedies?

Many thanks,


By treading on them you can transfer the poison onto the soles of your shoes and subsequently leave traces on your floor. If your dog licks the floor it can result in seriously poisoning your dogs tongue resulting in partial amputation of the tongue. I'm not scaremongering - we live in Spain where several dogs locally have suffered in this way recently.

Ouch, Try starting from 40€ per tree!

We have the same and our gardener has encircled both trees with a bank of some sticky substance which kills the caterpillars when they develop and then they fall into a lower sack below the first circle thus permitting the whole sack to be subsequently sealed and destroyed. Cost approx 180 euros per tree. Hope this helps

Because chenilles processionnaires are an emotive topic and they can be serious health concern; following a discussion with James Higginson, he has kindly allowed me to post the following:

I am an official supplier of Ecopièges.

If you would like more info, please contact me via or

Times of year to treat chenilles processionnaire:

Feb-May Ecopièges

June-Sept Pheromone traps.

Chemicals Sept - Dec

Too late/too early Dec - Jan


Those things must be psychic! Not a sight for a month & no discussion on here but I’ve just let the dog in & there’s a procession marching past the patio door. I could hardly believe my eyes to be honest. They seem to be unpredictable as well as poisonous!

Best wear a face mask like the Japanese and Marrigolds when you go out!!

Thanks David.
Ours are down & buried now & we have arranged to have the trees removed professionally. I’m a bit shocked at how laid back the locals are about them. Just up the road there is a line of young pines & it’s been absolutely infested to the point where there were hundreds of processions that had been run over in the road. They have no traffic sense! No attempt has been made to remove or deal with them. They are already impacting on the trees & nests are in touching distance. Fortunately our dog seems to avoid them & we had no problem but my husband had a nasty rash from pruning a tree near to the pines. I loathe them!

We live in the Vienne. No personal experience of this but do have friends who have suffered. It seems these caterpillars are deadly to humans as well as dogs. Breath in their very fine spines and it can be fatal. Best advice in our area is to get them professionally removed.The professionals are supposed to wear full body protection and breathing gear to remove them. They put them in plastic bags which go into second plastic bags for disposal.


AFs are indeed beautiful and if you respect them, they'll respect you.

Every year a number of businesses incl. myself are invited to a strategy plan with the Pompiers in Cher. A local journalist was there asking "fear-factor" questions for a better read. He asked how close could one get to a Asian hornet nest before you're attacked. The answer he didn't want to hear was about 2m (that also depends how you approach the nest as well).

The Pompiers in Cher ( an area larger than Lincolnshire) will refuse to treat any wasp or hornet job unless it's life and death and none of the approved people on the list are available.

We are one each up on indigenous hornet stings already, my OH mid-January actually.

The nearest so far was a news report about one wolf shot in Landes not that far from Lot et Garonne so must be a couple of years only. I like them, they do humans no harm in general and have had a bad press.

The Asian hornets are actually superb creatures. If you ever get a chance take a close look at one. I have had a couple on my hand as I would with my bees, simply let them walk off a plant on to the back of your hand then keep still. They don't stay long. They are actually incredibly beautiful. They are hard working little beasts at that. If they left my bees alone I would leave them alone. Our friends are just like most people, afraid, but the wife is one of those people who is highly allergic to mosquito bite let alone a hornet sting, so we did it.

You’re very welcome Rob. I’ll have a go. I’ve got masses of film so will just show the beginning of the burial and just before it got to dark when numbers were down from 20 to 5. The last picture should have come first as it shows the procession that we allowed to bury itself.

That is extraordinary Brian. I presume the hunter was pretty ill. I treat them with the greatest respect. My husband pruned a fruit tree some metres away from our pines a couple of weeks ago and by the evening looked as though he’d been punched. He’s OK but itching round the wrists. Funnily enough though, our very nosey Jack Russell has not gone near them & is unscathed. No hornets here yet.

Interesting, could you possible post the photos/vid here, or pm to me, with your permission, I'd like to post them!


Very interesting Robert & thanks for the links. We are having 10 trees felled safely (I hope). Our nests are indeed brown & full of holes. I walk my dog around the area every day & have been astonished at the processions squashed in the road & by a Neighbour who has totally ignored his major infestation on young trees that could have been reached easily & dealt with before they invaded.
I’ve noticed too that it’s reasonably east to see where they have buried by the casts they leave behind. I marked one group & filmed them burying so that I would know what they look like.

Interesting stuff. Talk around here is that wolves have been sighted not too far away in the Creuse, any talk of them in your area ?

Not surpising the asian hornets are camped out in Europe as they are probably trying to keep as much distance between them and Kim Jong-Un and his rockets !!

Good timing in a way, but not in what I am going to say. Yesterday I went out with the hunt for a couple of hours since they needed more watch outs because there is a pilgrimage under way in this area and blasting them ain't considered clever. Anyway, chatting with a couple of them it was recounted how a hunter walked into a nest a couple of weeks ago, it slapped across his face and knocked quite a few caterpillars out. He is still in hospital. I don't know exactly what condition he was in but the fact that two weeks later he is still receiving medical care makes me wish to be all the more cautious.

We visited friends yesterday, they had a hornet nest (Asians) in a fairly high but very thin pine. We took a ladder up as high as we could reach, attached a rope then to his little tractor and bent the tree down. They were active and he said that apart from a few days when he could not see them they have been all winter. Anyway, by bending the tree over, then taking ropes to get the high branch down we got the nest low enough to cut off. A heap of straw went straight over it, a large amount of packing paper and a dose of petrol to start it. They burn a treat once started. I took my beekeeper's suit and a jacket with veil for the man, so we were protected. Very few escaped as far as I can make out. But the fact they are active is not good, so watch out...

Stage five; procession (always led by a female by the way!). If the nest looks brown and full of holes, yes, they're either getting to leave or have left. Either way, they have stopped feeding.

Don't forget the nest will will be full of hairs, so care is still required to remove it.

OK, before the summer, get a pheromone trap. 1 trap per 100m².

(General note) It's all about the timing, as per my post above. Now is too late!

Fiches techniques supplied by my distributor, they do not supply to Mr Joe Public.