***6/16/2019-6/23/2019 Weekly Show, Tell, and Critique***

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Dak on cam
Dak on cam Senior Member • Posts: 1,388
Re: Oak processionary nest

Bill Borne wrote:

Dak on cam wrote:

Bill Borne wrote:

Dak on cam wrote:

Bill Borne wrote:

Dak on cam wrote:

One nest of two. About 3m from my bedroom window. *Censored*

Zoomed in a little too much I think?????

Depends on just what one wants to see. At the top of the photograph you can see individuals crawling about, at a larger scale that's harder to see. Let me run outside for a moment: the light is still good enough for a non-flash photograph.

Well, almost. Best of three hand-helds showing the two nests left and right of the oak (and my bathroom window).

Here is a closeup shot of the upper part of the right nest (had to use the flash after all):

And here is a crop of that:

And I think now I have a few more pustules.

The landlord said he'll take care of them but he is not one of the fastest and I fear that they may terminally leave the nest for pupating (they leave it in processions some time in the night for feeding frenzies in their current stage but return), ruining the best opportunity for extermination. Those guys are bad news for anybody with skin and/or lungs.

Thanks for that. I wanted to see some kind of context of the nest. Now are they some kind of spider???????

No, they are caterpillars of a night moth. They are a poisonous pest eating mainly oak leaves. Their very fine hairs break off easily and are carried by the wind, making contact with skin and lungs where they tend to bury. They are stinging and with a contact poison causing allergy-like reactions (you can become allergic proper to them but the reactions similar to insect bites are universal) ranging from flea-bite like annoyance to hospitalisation. During the day, they sit in nests consisting of webbing and molted skins. At night, they crawl in processions (two rows or four rows, depending on kind) to the branches and eat the leaves. Those nests are bad news even after all the larvae have left and pupated because they are full of the poisonous hairs and skins.

They've been on the increase in Northern Europe in the last few years: at the moment, it's typical to read every few days about some school or kindergarten in some neighboring town to close down for a day while the exterminators remove nests from their premises or vicinity. In a few weeks they will scatter and pupate, so one has to act timely to fight them effectively.

I would light them up with some lighter fluid?

You watch too many action movies.  Lighting them up is probably the best way to have as many poison hairs freed and distributed over the premises that one can think of.  Not to mention that torching a partially defoliated oak immediately in front of a house built with wooden beams and light loam fillings may not be the smartest course of action.  A few months ago we had someone in the newspaper who thought torching a wasps' nest was a splendid idea and ended up one house short.

No, the usual remedy used by the professionals is to work with one-time suits and breath masks, cover the nests in something akin to hair spray to minimize contamination and suck them off using special industrial vacuums.  I've also heard of enclosing them in construction foam.  Either way, you end up with some pretty bad waste.

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