How to combat the processionary?
Imposing trees such as pines, cedars or willows can seem proof of everything, they are strong in any season of the year, and nothing could make them sick. However, there is a pest capable of weakening them, and that they grow slower, can also cause severe hives for people or death for pets. in this article we will try to solve all the doubts about how to fight the processionary
Didn't you know this? If you have pine trees, are thinking of planting some or want to start with a vegetable garden, we recommend you stay and read more about the Processionary, what it is, what damage it causes and how to combat it.
What is the Processionary?
Like all caterpillars, the Processionary belongs to the defoliating Lepidoptera, usually appears in southern Europe specifically in forests or rural areas, and is considered one of the most devastating pests for pines in Spain.
The Processionary has its mating period at the beginning of summer, they lay their eggs in the pine leaves (Needles), they take almost a month to hatch and the caterpillars go down to the ground to spend the winter in their cocoon. Finally, they metamorphose in summer to continue their life cycle.
You may be wondering what harm do they do to trees? The worst part is in spring, because after spending a winter hungry, the processionary will have more appetite and will be much bigger.
What damage do the Processionaries cause?
We already know the most relevant data on its life cycle and the seasons where it is necessary to take more care of pines, cedars and willows; But now we must know the consequences of not giving adequate care to the trees in Processionary season, or not taking care of touching any.
Hives, allergies and itching
The Processionary is not dangerous when it has already undergone its metamorphosis and reached its adult stage, but when it is still a larva or when it begins to grow uncontrollably. This is because these caterpillars have stinging hairs as a defense mechanism to protect themselves from predators.
While these hairs are not deadly to humans, they can cause painful allergic reactions, hives, and redness in the area they came into contact with. However, pets can eat these caterpillars and it could cause death from internal necrosis.
Defoliation or death of trees
Depending on the age of the tree, the climate and the type of tree, these caterpillars will try to satiate their hunger for Needles and will not tire until they weaken or defoliate a tree. On the other hand, it is important to consider that a defoliation of a pine does not mean that it will die, only that it will be much weaker, it will not grow quickly and it will be vulnerable to any other plague that may arrive.
How to fight the Processionary?
Now that we know everything about this caterpillar, we can start with the most common methods to avoid their nests, combat them and prevent future unwanted visits by adult processionaries in your pine reserve, orchard or in your home.
Without further ado, here are some ways to combat the Processionary:
Remove or break the pockets
Pines are trees with a considerable height, but if they have not grown enough yet, you just need to find all the pockets in each tree and cut the branches carefully so as not to break them. On the other hand, you can hit the pockets at night if there is cold weather for the environment to do its job.
Remember the stinging hairs, protect yourself as much as possible and never touch the clothes you used to eliminate the processionaries with your bare hands. Sure, unless you want to have 4 weeks of severe pain and itching in the affected area.
Delete nesting zones
The processionary are usually buried around the base of the tree, they are easy to find due to the appearance of mounds and this time is the right time to kill them. However, it is not a 100% effective alternative, it takes a long time and you must know exactly the months in which the processionary came down from the tree.
The solutions we offer at Raíz Verde
Chemicals should not be taken lightly and should be treated with respect and care, because the misuse of these could negatively affect the environment, pets, trees and not harm these caterpillars that we wish to eliminate. This is why in Green Root We have specialized in offering the following methods to combat the Processionary:
- Spray gun: it consists of spraying an excellent quality phytosanitary product with a special gun that allows to reach every corner of the trees, and it is excellent for the elimination and prevention so that these caterpillars do not appear.
- Use of Pole: This solution is similar to the previous option, but it is specialized for pine trees that are very tall and that the chemical product is spread evenly on the tree.
Injections or endotherapy: this type of treatment is done with a direct application to the body of the tree with a perforation, which allows injecting the phytosanitary product required for the processionaries to die when trying to lower, defoliate or make their nests in the pines.