The return of the processionary caterpillar

Ahhhwww, how cute! It almost looks like a heart made on the tree to welcome you in. How wrong can you be? This is a typical nest of the processionary caterpillar who live on oak trees at its finest, and they are here to annoy you more than that you like!

When walking in the woods last week all of a sudden there was red and white tape around some of the trees. You know that kind of tape from when something is biohazard, or when a body is somewhere and you are not allowed to come closer. Well this kind of tape was around the trees in my most favourite forest, which immediately takes of all of the beauty of it. Not because I am against nature and bugs and flies, but this little creeper is a particular annoying one. Not because he eats the trees, but because of his little hairs that he drops when he is scared and which blow away with the wind.

And exactly those little hairs are the problem. Being 0.1 to 0.3 mm in length you can not really see them. When when they fall on you the trouble is there. Itching of the skin, redness and tearing of the eyes, shortness of breath when you inhale them, and coughing when they are stuck in your throat. Recognize any of these symptoms from other recent issues like the shortness of breath and the coughing?;) Yeah not really a good time to have them in this covid-19 phase.

The annoying thing is, these complains from the little hairs can last up untill two weeks because the hairs have little hooks and they stick to their surroundings. That means showering might not be enough, but taking some ducttape like it is wax does do the trick. That means that some tears of the eyes might not be enough, but that even the house doctor might have to rinse your eye adding some local anesthesia in there. Not too pleasant stuff!

And also with every collison with these little hairs the reaction of the body has a good chance of increasing. Meaning that the every time you get in contact with the little hairs, the complaints might get worse, even leading to severe allergic reactions as an anafylactic shock

So the only thing to actually do is stay away from them, which is sometimes difficult because the little hairs can travel up to 100 meters distance with the wind. Contacting the local authorities is actually the best thing to do. They have the contacts with the extermination squads who come with a combo of a torch with a vacuum thingy to suck away the hairs.

Hopefully the trend of this year with this heat is not another increasing of these critters, but who knows!

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