Wednesday, 28 January 2009

La Processionaire du Pin


This is the nest of the chenille processionnaire, the caterpillar that emerges from its cotton wool nests in the pine trees and forms with its fellows a long procession of caterpillars which process nose to tail until they find a suitably sunny spot to transform into moths.
As you can see from the Wikipaedia article these little guys look comic as they inch their way across the ground. However, looks are deceptive as the tiny hairs on their bodies can prove lethal to other animals and I've been told could induce a heart attack in humans. At the least they can provoke an asthma attack or urticaria. Their other undesirable habits include stripping the pines of needles so this is one to leave alone...
We have a nest high up in one of our trees that I can't reach so once the weather warms up I shall be looking for them in our drive way as they come down. I can't risk either the dogs or the cat getting to them first.

6 comments:

Julie ScottsdaleDailyPhoto.com said...

great shot and i loved your dog shot earlier.

roentarre said...

Such interesting fruit there. The leaves are like needles. This is a very strange phenomenon.

:)

George said...

I agree this would be a good caterpillar to leave alone. I hope you can get rid of them.

Catherine said...

Yes, I've heard about it. Sometimes it isn't big animals that are the most dangerous.

Can't you call firemen to help you to take away that nest, as they do so for swarms ?

Jilly said...

These caterpillars are terrifying. If a dog lics one it will burn away half it's tongue. I've seen it happen on my neighbour's cat in fact. The local authorities around here spray against them but if you see one, the best thing to do it shoot it down and then burn the nest. There are REALLY dangerous. It seems to be the only way to get them down from the tall pines.

Angela, get that nest down and burn it. If you can't, well, as you know, don't let the dogs or the cat out or anywhere near it. Really bad news. (Maybe the local mairie will help?)

Virginia said...

That's just plain scarey ! Get those things down and quick!! Yikes
V