eliminar lagarta do pinheiro

How to eliminate the Pine Caterpillar and the Danger in Humans and Dogs

ninho da lagarta do pinheiro

The pine caterpillar, also known as pine processionary, is a pest that mainly affects pine trees, among other coniferous trees. This insect represents a danger to humans and dogs, due to its stinging hairs, which cause irritation to the skin, eyes and respiratory system, and in some cases can be fatal.

1. Behavior of the Pine Caterpillar and its environmental impact

Initially, the caterpillars gather in sac-shaped nests, usually located in pine trees. During the migration period (from December to June), the caterpillars move in single file in search of new areas to feed, posing a risk to children, adults and dogs due to the presence of stinging hairs.

Additionally, the destruction of pine needles can weaken the trees, making them more susceptible to disease and other environmental damage.

2. Dangers of the Pine Caterpillar to Humans and Dogs

These hairs can cause serious allergic reactions in humans and pets, making adequate control of this pest crucial.

It is when they walk in procession that they most attract the attention of children and dogs, who are curious about the movement of those orange-colored, harmless-looking insects. But the truth is that they are quite dangerous for humans and pets.

The allergic reaction varies depending on the sensitivity of the person and animal, as well as the intensity of exposure to the caterpillar's hair.

Skin irritations are one of the types of reactions (urticarial reaction), in which there is skin irritation with itching, burning, red skin and swelling. Eye irritation may also occur, very similar to conjunctivitis, with red, itchy and swollen eyes. And, finally, it can also trigger coughing and breathing difficulties of varying severity.

Symptoms may appear a few minutes or hours after contact. In humans, if any allergic reactions persist, contact 112 immediately. For animals, such as dogs and cats, consult your veterinarian immediately.

3. Treatments to eliminate pine caterpillars

In Portugal, several methods have been implemented to control the pine caterpillar population, namely:

✅ Physical barriers in Pinheiros

These traps allow you to capture the entire colony of pine processionary caterpillars. When applied around the perimeter of the pine tree , it blocks the entire descent path of the caterpillars, forcing them to enter the capture bag, from where they cannot escape. It prevents the caterpillars from reaching the ground to finish the cycle, thus limiting the number of butterflies for reproduction.

To obtain a more effective treatment, you should place the trap in the winter months to collect the caterpillars during the spring .

Months of use: December, January, February, March, April, May and June

✅ Nest removal

Sanitary pruning to remove nests and infested areas to reduce the population. It is advisable to carry out the treatment with technical pest control professionals, such as Truly Nolen .

✅ Chemical and biological treatments

Using specific insecticides or biological agents to control the pest can also be a good option when the location already has a large infestation.

It is crucial to educate the public about the dangers associated with pine caterpillars and prevention and safety practices. Public awareness can help with the early identification of infestations and the implementation of preventive measures.