The caterpillars of the oak processionary moth looks harmless, her white hair fluff makes them almost sweet look. But Woe to the one who comes to the animals to close proximity of The stinging hairs of the moth can cause severe symptoms such as rashes and allergic reactions. The animals are treacherous, not least because of the infestation of trees is often difficult to detect. So you can protect yourself from the dangerous caterpillars.

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The caterpillars are the larvae of an inconspicuous butterfly that adores in the night hours. The females of the oak processionary moths lay eggs in the crowns of oaks. The dreaded caterpillars hatch in may. To the finished butterfly, you go through up to six stages of development. The caterpillars together to eat the young shoots of oak trees, and live in family groups. The animals form so-called Cocon nests in which older larvae skins. In addition, the animals wander in search of food, as in a sort of procession on the tree trunks along – hence its Name. A single procession may reach a length of up to tens of meters.

What makes the animals so dangerous?

The caterpillars of the oak processionary moth urticating hairs, which are easy to break and distributed by the Wind to grow. Especially in the dream of the animals nests stuck countless dangerous hairs. They have a long shelf-life, accumulate in the wood under the infested trees, and remain on clothes and shoes to adhere. When touched, the stinging hairs cause an allergic reaction.


Dangerous caterpillar: The hairs of oak processionary solve pustules, and wheals when people from

©picture alliance/Daniel Ullrich, Threedots [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-SA-2.0-de], via Wikimedia Commons What are the symptoms?

Get the stinging hairs on the skin to form red, localized hives, the itching and burning – often on the whole body. The pustules are called also “caterpillar dermatitis”. The hairs are inhaled, they can trigger a Bronchitis, and coughing to Asthma. Add symptoms such as fever, dizziness, fatigue, or a conjunctivitis can. Symptoms should always be at the house the doctor clarified.

In rare cases, the urticating hairs can cause, in sensitive persons, a severe allergic shock. In such a case immediately to the emergency doctor must be contacted.

What are the substances for the reaction?

contain The urticating hairs of the caterpillars, the toxic Protein Thaumetopoein. The hair can penetrate the skin and the egg whites are set free. Particularly easy the happens of thin skin such as the face, neck, and inner side of the elbow.


the oak processionary moth out marching at dawn, in long processions out of their web of nests up in the Branches of the oak that is there to eat

©picture alliance/angle of view Who is particularly vulnerable?

Generally, people who are much in the Free: forest workers, residents of forest areas or campers who pitch their tents under the trees. A picnic under the oaks and there may be consequences if, in the undergrowth of hair have accumulated.

Where are common the animals?

According to the nature conservation Federation (Nabu) Baden-mainly the States-Württemberg, Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Brandenburg, Berlin and Saxony-Anhalt are affected. Overall, the infested area is increasing. As a possible reason for changes in the Wake of climate change apply.

How can you protect yourself from the groomers?

The Bavarian state Institute of forestry (LWF) advises to avoid infested areas, in principle. Not caterpillars, and Cocon nests should not be touched. After contact with caterpillar hairs should immediately change the clothing and the body and head are rinsed off.


crawler’s nest on a tree trunk: In the web nests, the animals shed their skin and leave hair in large volumes of Fuel.

©picture alliance/WILDLIFE, I discovered a web nest. I need to fight the caterpillars?

Basically, the caterpillars should be controlled when they pose a danger to humans – so if you have infested, for example, the oak of a Playground. The infestation is located in a public area should be reported to the Fund of the municipality or city. Private persons can engage a pest controller with the Removal. Not crawlers or web of esters should be independently removed.


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